The phenomenon of meter tampering is costing Greece’s Public Power Corporation (PPC) between 60 and 70 million euros in revenue annually, with corruption and the possible involvement of agents from its subsidiary the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (DEDDHE) identified as the cause. A senior PPC official said, “We should return PPC to the time when electricity meters were considered a valuable asset and there were no unsealed meters.”
PPC appears determined to comprehensively address the problem, including blocking agents of its subsidiary if necessary. Describing the problem, PPC executives said it was a countrywide phenomenon.
The highest rates occur in Attica and Thessaloniki, and not in poor neighborhoods as might be expected, but in more affluent suburbs and in high-volume consumers, including businesses.
The phenomenon is accompanied by a host of acts of unlawful interference, while some individuals have almost turned their knowledge of meter tampering into a profession. The prices charged for tampering with meters vary according to consumption and the financial status of the owner. The Internet also provides tips for meter tampering. The laxity with which PPC has dealt with the issue despite its escalation since 2013 onward has emboldened offenders.
The practice of meter tampering, beyond the damage it causes to PPC and other consumers, poses a serious risk to the health and safety of citizens and can land offenders in court.
DEDDHE Thursday announced the results of its controls, according to which the total number of meter tampering incidents in the first half of 2015 came to 3,400 compared to 6,650 for all of 2014. The data on the evolution of the phenomenon from 2011 onward, and especially from 2013, which showed cases going from 4,370 in 2012 to 8,429 in 2013, expose a lack of focused approach by PPC in dealing with the problems and concern for the operation of its affiliate network.
DEDDHE has carried out around 8 million inspections and has called on all consumers to report meter tampering. It stresses that tampering incidents carry heavy penalties.