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Shanghai Cracks Down on Power Theft
2005-8-8 11:49:44      CRIENGLISH.com
With power consumption reaching another record in Shanghai last week, the local power department is all out to crack down on power theft.
From Shanghai, CRI's Wang Jing has more.

Shanghai's power department has joined hand with local police, sending out over 1,000 inspectors to look for power thieves across the city.

It is so far the largest campaign in the city to crack down on power theft.

Shanghai's power grid is seriously challenged this summer. The city's record for electricity consumption has been re-set five times in the last two months, with the highest edging 17 million kilowatts-hour last Wednesday.

In the mean time, power theft is also on the rise.

Last year, Shanghai investigated around 9,000 power theft cases, which had caused 28 million kilowatts-hour of electricity.
Another investigation in the first half this year found 11 million kilowatts-hour of electricity unpaid.

Of all power theft cases investigated, residential power thieves accounted for nearly 95 percent.

People who steal electricity usually tamper with electric meters to interfere with the accurate recording of electric usage and therefore avoid paying high bills.

During this campaign, the authorities are finding that restaurants and hairdresser's located in residential buildings are the most frequent power stealers.

Power thieves have to pay off their bills, what comes next worries most people.

Power departments have introduced new electric meters with chips inside, which provide accurate and safe meter solutions. But the high price makes it only accessible to large enterprises.

According to the Electricity Law, power thieves will be fined at most five times the money they evaded. This penalty is too mild to really curb the big power thefts.

For realtime Beijing, this is Wang Jing.

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