Malta customers who steal power won’t face criminal charges

Posted by: Metering International

February 18, 2014

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As Enemalta, the state utility of Malta in southern Europe, begins to prosecute its employees for smart meter tampering, the government is reassuring consumers that they won’t face criminal charges.

Last week, a former Enemalta employee, Paul Pantalleresco, was jailed for two years after he admitted to bribery and tampering 250 smart meters.

Another two employees were detained on Monday and more arrests are expected to follow.

Enemalta’s Theft Control Unit identified 1,000 smart meters that had been rigged to record a small percentage of the household’s energy consumption, amounting to revenue losses of €30m a year.

Government has stepped in to persuade those customers who paid to have their smart meters tampered to come forward in a bid to catch the organisers of the tampering.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that Enemalta had the means to identify every household with a tampered smart meter, but said that he did not want a “witch-hunt”.

The utility has set up a unit through which customers who defrauded it will be asked to come forward and repay Enemalta any amount defrauded and an additional penalty, and will also be asked to provide all the information they can.

Parliamentary secretary for justice Owen Bonnici said: “This system incentivises the small fish to uncover the big fish. Our main aim is to get the mastermind who created this scam.”

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