Electricity theft in Puebla has cost the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) more than 104 million pesos (US $5.5 million) since 2014, and the problem has become considerably worse during that timeCFE documents obtained by the newspaper El Universal show a sharp spike in the crime in various parts of the state over the past three years.

 

While the practice mainly occurs in the residential sector, it has also been detected among commercial users and even in government offices.Charges were brought in 19 cases of electricity theft in 2014 in which the CFE incurred losses of 357,000 pesos.In 2015, losses grew to almost 9 million pesos and the CFE pressed charges in seven cases. One was a government office but which was not specified.It was in 2016 that thefts soared, with the CFE reporting economic damage totaling 94.8 million pesos.Thirty-six cases were brought before the federal Attorney General, with 28 in residences and four each in the commercial and government sectors.Again, the area of government was not specified.The 2016 theft increase corresponds to a substantial electricity price hike for businesses and high-consumption residences.Up until April of this year, just two cases have been reported.

According to the federal criminal code, electricity theft carries a penalty of three to 10 years’ imprisonment as well as a fine of 1,000 times the daily minimum wage, or 80,000 pesos.[MEXICOCITY NEWS]