Elite fleeceS Erongo-Red
Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 07:45
Several residents of the leafy upmarket suburbs of Walvis Bay face the possibility of criminal charges after a huge scheme to bypass prepaid electricity meters was uncovered by a private investigator.
In a statement released by the acting chief executive officer of Erongo RED, Fessor Mbango, the scheme was uncovered by a series of routine spot checks on prepaid meters. More than a hundred consumers in Walvis Bay are allegedly involved in the scheme.
“The Energy Management and Revenue Protection Section of Erongo RED detected unusual purchasing patterns on some of our residential customers in Walvis Bay. In addition to this, Erongo RED received a tip-off from a local resident about a certain individual who was bypassing pre-paid meters of certain customers,” Mbango said.
He said the tip-off prompted Erongo RED to appoint a private investigator to assist in identifying the culprits. According to Mbango the findings of the investigation have been submitted to the Namibian Police in Walvis Bay for further investigation.
In the meantime, at least six people were arrested in connection with the fraud. Amongst those taken into custody was an independent electrical contractor who bypassed the prepaid electricity meters for consumers at a fee.
Although the theft of electricity by way of the manipulation of prepaid electricity meters was first detected in Walvis Bay the suspicion is that the fraud might extend to other towns serviced by Erongo RED.
“Erongo RED wishes to caution members of the public from tampering with electrical apparatuses or paying someone to tamper with electrical apparatuses or attempt to bypass meters in order to avoid paying for the electricity used. The company will continue to put strategies in place aimed at combating energy losses through fraudulent activities. This includes customer education through awareness campaigns, instilling a culture of payment for services, suspension of illegal connections, fines for those found tampering with electrical apparatuses, as well as laying charges against such individuals as part of our revenue protection interventions.”
“We wish to request members of the public to assist us in combating these fraudulent activities by reporting any suspicious connections at their nearest Police Station or Erongo RED office,” Mbango concluded.