San Juan, Puerto Rico --- (METERING.COM) --- April 5, 2011 - The Electrical Energy Authority (Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica, AEE) of Puerto Rico has claimed around $34 million after processing approximately 4,000 complaints related to the theft of electricity across the island since 2009.

“This crime affects the finances of the Authority and also the customers who faithfully pay their bills, so we will not give truce to those who violate the law and regulations,” commented AEE executive director Miguel A. Lamb, adding that in line with the strategic plan the company has been taking systematic steps to address the problem of electricity theft.

During 2009, 1,949 cases were presented resulting in claims of $11 million, while in 2010 2,375 cases led to claims of almost $18 million. Further in the first quarter of 2011, 597 cases led to claims of $5 million.

In order to expedite these cases, the AEE has been assigned ten judges who hold weekly sittings in Ponce, Arecibo and San Juan, and shortly also sittings are to be started in Caguas. These officials have issued an average of 40 orders per week related to the administrative proceedings against the theft of electricity.

Under Act 162 the AEE may impose penalties of up to $10,000 on anyone who makes alterations to the electricity system with the intent of theft.