Raging Pilferage Activities in the City causing High Systems Loss and Power Outages throughout ZAMCELCO Service Territory.

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, 24 August 2020 — It is evident that the new management of Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ZAMCELCO) is focused and committed on improving the coop’s operations and upgrading its facilities to provide quality services and long-term sustainable power supply to its roughly 120,000 active member-consumer-owners (MCOs). ZAMCELCO remains the primary distributor of electricity in Zamboanga City, covering ninety-four (94) barangays energized and served on-grid. Through the commitment of the new management, together with its Board of Directors (BODs), employees, and stakeholders, prompt implementation of its plans and programs are off the hook.

However, ZAMCELCO is currently suffering from high systems loss primarily due to pilferage activities: direct tapping, tampering the accuracy of meters, flying, and other illegal connections exercised mostly by non-members of the coop and even some of its MCOs. These acts are unlawful and will subject a person to criminal liability and imprisonment. In 1994, this law was put into order to protect the Coop’s honest MCOs from any illegal activities and additional charges on their monthly bills caused by the pilferers.

Illegal connections lead to an overloaded supply line causing trip-offs and grid disturbances. It also causes damage to ZAMCELCO distribution lines, electrical appliances of the MCOs such as refrigerators, air conditioners, television sets, and others that have electric motors or sensitive electronic parts.

In the first quarter of this year, ZAMCELCO launched its first-ever Zoning: Massive Meter Check-up in Baliwasan Grande, Suterville, Sta. Catalina, and Talon-Talon, as a kick-off activity to the coop’s daily conduct of the apprehension and targeting to visit all areas under the service territory of ZAMCELCO in line with the Anti-Pilferage Campaign. Recently, some of the areas visited by the ZAMCELCO Apprehension team were, Asinan, Kasanyangan with over 500 households were disconnected due to illegal connections, Blue Homes Executive in Pasonanca, Villa Teresa in Divisoria, and Vida Vista Subdivision in Cabaluay. The coop is targeting to reduce its systems loss both technical and non-technical by the end of this year through eradicating pilferage activities. 

On the legal matters, criminal cases are now being prepared against all the apprehended residents of the above-mentioned areas. New ZAMCELCO management is serious about the implementation of the Anti-Pilferage Campaign. The unbilled use and stealing of electricity, in any form, is a crime and punishable by law under the Republic Act 7832, otherwise known as the Anti-Electricity and Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Pilferage Act of 1994. The New ZAMCELCO is closely coordinating with the Local Government Unit, Philippine National Police, and the National Bureau of Investigation to stop and eradicate illegal connections in the City. Thus, Zamcelco would like to affirm its commitment to collaborate and engage with various communities to find solutions and prevent any form of pilferage activities.

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