ZAMCELCO vows action vs illegal connections

The Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ZAMCELCO) has vowed to crack down on power pilferage, illegal connections, and theft of power transmission lines, materials, and supplies in the city.

In the regular press briefing at City Hall Monday, October 14, Zamcelco spokesperson Ferdie Rodriguez reported that Zamcelco management has formed a revenue protection group for the purpose of handling cases specifically violating RA 7832 or the Anti-electricity and Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Pilferage Act of 1994.

Members of the cooperative underwent a recent refresher course on the RA 7832 spearheaded by the Energy Regulation Commission (ERC).

“It is the right time to enlighten our MCOs on the provisions [RA 7832],” Rodriguez stressed.

The Anti-electricity and Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Pilferage Act of 1994 categorizes illegal use of electricity as: 1) tapping to any connection with overhead lines, service drops, or other electric service wires, without previous authority or consent of the private electric utility or rural electric cooperative concerned, 2) flying connections, or tapping any connection to existing electric service facilities of any duly registered consumer without the latter’s or the electric utility’s consent or authority, 3) tampering, installing or using a tampered electrical meter, jumper, current reversing transformer, shorting or shunting wire, loop connection or any other device which interferes with the proper or accurate registry or metering of electric current, and 4) damaging or destroying an electric meter, equipment, wire or conduit or allowing any of them to be so damaged or destroyed as to interfere with the proper or accurate metering of electric current.

Additionally, knowingly using or receiving the direct benefit of electric service obtained through any of the aforementioned acts likewise constitute a violation of the RA 7832.

Under the RA 7832, power pilferage, illegal use, and theft of power transmission lines and supplies carries appropriate penalties and fines ranging from P 10,000 to P 100,000, depending on the violations committed and under the discretion of the court.

Furthermore, RA 7832 states that “if the offense is committed by, or in connivance with, an officer or employee of the power company, private electric utility or rural electric cooperative concerned, such officer or employee shall, upon conviction, be punished with a penalty one (1) degree higher than the penalty provided herein, and forthwith be dismissed and perpetually disqualified from employment in any public or private utility or service company and from holding any public office”.

Rodriguez noted that Zamcelco has the right to immediately terminate the electric service of violators.

“El ZAMCELCO tiene deretso to disconnect el electric service del violators del RA 7832, after serving written notice,” he said.

The cooperative will request the presence of law enforcers to assist in the apprehension of violators of RA 7832 as the foregoing circumstances must be witnessed and attested by an officer of the law or representative of the ERC to be considered as prima facie evidence. (Jasmine Mohammadsali)