In 2017, SKELEC recorded an increase in the number of illegal connections identified. This is of grave concern to the company given the implications for the safety of the public and the company’s employees, as well as the loss of revenue.
An illegal electricity supply or stealing of electricity is the obtaining of electricity from SKELEC’s grid without making the necessary application, including obtaining electricity without SKELEC’s approval after the user’s supply has been disconnected.
Illegal electricity supply is usually obtained through:
- Self-reconnection of a disconnected supply
- Meter tampering so that the full usage is not recorded
- By-passing the meter
- Tapping into the power lines
- A feed from the neighbor’s supply be it with their permission or not.
The practice of illegal connection can pose several risks not only to the individual who is stealing but also to individuals living in close proximity to the illegal connection. These include unplanned outages due to overload of the network, loss of appliances and serious injuries to SKELEC’s employees.
The stealing of electricity is a serious offence punishable by law. The St. Christopher Electricity Supply Act 2011, Section 24, Subsections 1-3 indicates that any person caught maliciously or fraudulently removing electricity commits a crime of larceny and if convicted may be charged a fine “of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) and one hundred dollars ($100.00) for each day that the offence continues unabated, or to imprisonment for a term of two years.”
In the case of corporations, the fine is “ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) and two hundred and twenty-five dollars ($225.00) for each day that the offence continues unabated.” SKELEC also imposes its own fine of one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500.00) per occurrence plus the estimated usage for the period.
SKELEC would like the practice of illegal electricity connections to cease immediately. The public is therefore urged to do its part in assisting SKELEC to curb this crime by:
- Always applying for a legal connection
- Not tampering with the meter. Call SKELEC for assistance in remedying issues with your meter
- Being aware of your surroundings and reporting suspicious activities involving your electricity supply to SKELEC immediately
- Visiting the office to request a bill if you are not receiving a monthly bill
- Reporting illegal connections to SKELEC immediately, by calling SKELEC Fault Reporting at 465-2013, or by calling our Customer Service Department at 465-2000.
Over the last year, SKELEC has referred all consumers found with illegal connections to the police and is aware that charges have been filed. In addition, once such consumers do not immediately settle the outstanding amount, civil proceedings are pursued to recoup the outstanding balance plus the penalty for illegal connection. SKELEC therefore strongly urges all consumers to desist from violating the law.
SKELEC also wishes to thank the members of the public who have been vigilant and have reported incidences of suspected illegal connections.