Electricity power-related robberies worth more than 6.7 million Birr were reported in the first quarter of the annual budget year, according to Ethiopian Electric Utility.
“The thefts targeted electric power infrastructures and electric power. The criminals are taking advantage of the current political destabilization in the country as fertile ground,” said Abebe Tesfa, Director of Legal Services at the Ethiopian electric utility.
About 36 electric power infrastructures and power theft crimes are reported, out of which more than 20 occurred in Addis Ababa. The report does not include places found in the conflict areas. The criminal activities are increasing time and again nationwide and more crimes are targeting the capital city.
Over the past 7 months, more thefts had been recorded on electric lines of the Addis Ababa light rail, the director stated.
The criminal acts are occurring repeatedly in Kirkos sub-city around Gotera highway, Yeka sub-city, specifically at Ayat rail station, and in Gumruk area at Akaki Kality sub-city, where thirteen criminals were arrested.
Power infrastructure theft, fraud on electric usage cost, and illegal installation of power transmitters are criminal activities under Energy Proclamation number 810/2013 and would result in imprisonment sentences from 5-15 years.
Infrastructure thefts are impacting society resulting in the shortage and inaccessibility of electric power supply and loss of costly infrastructure investment.
The society is requested to inform the Ethiopian Electric Utility through a free hotline ‘905’ and reach out in person to the nearest branch offices while coming across such illegal acts.
More than 240 electric power-associated crimes are reported nationwide in the past year, amongst which 140 of them are in Addis Ababa.