The extent of electricity theft is shocking

Dear Editor,
Indeed I am shocked at the extent of electricity theft in Guyana as reported in the print and electronic media. It bewilders the imagination that people of means would fall so low as to steal or purchase stolen equipment, the property of Guyana Power and Light (GPL).  Others risk their lives in order to steal electric power, and a number of them have died, and children accidentally are killed while playing because of crudely installed wires − wires which were not meant for electrical transmission. Homes have been destroyed by fire as well.

It is known that GPL has had its fair share of problems when they have wrongfully accused people of theft, and later had to withdraw the accusation.  On many occasions meters are improperly installed; I saw once a meter installed upside down at a residence. The owner told me he was terrified to report it to GPL as he could be accused of something.  In many instances meters are just faulty − and why not? spaceships have been faulty.  Yet, meter readers read his meter month after month and never recognize the fault.  I know of a case where a private transformer was installed improperly when the Irish were managing the entity, and hence faulty readings were being recorded; in time the owner was accused of tampering.

There are some people who would prefer to be dead than cheat or steal. There are cases such as when people leave their premises and there is no consumption, but GPL accuses them of tampering, disconnects them and creates enormous headaches and heartache.  Later, when confronted after much embarrassment, the accusations are withdrawn.  Frequent travellers can never have a similar reading month after month, as when they’re out of the country, the reading would reflect low, or no consumption. However, the difference causes suspicion and eventually inconvenience and accusations. Nevertheless there are some prominent and wealthy people who try to steal.  People who have stolen should face the courts, but all avenues of investigation should be exhausted, as assumptions could be wrong.

When I saw the extent of thievery in Albouystown, I was dumbfounded; the same for some businesses at the First Federation building.  However, in the case of Albouystown, my advice is to give those people a chance to correct themselves so that they can have safe, reliable (hopefully) electric power.  People have to be taught that the electricity entity cannot survive if people do not pay their fair share for power, and things would get even more difficult if they don’t.  It is a business which needs capital to survive and serve.
I also had some problems with GPL, which caused headaches, sadness and pain, but with patience, it is being ironed out.

I ask GPL to keep the charges as low as possible for Guyanese, as we have enormous poverty in our country, and business is not the best at this time.  Encourage and help those who need it, but the bare-faced thieves must be hauled before the courts, and treated like any criminal.
I continue to be amazed at the schemes created by electricity thieves.
Yours faithfully,
Roshan Khan