Mozambique’s publicly-owned electricity company, EDM, has incurred losses of about 600 million meticais (about 8.5 million US dollars, at current exchange rates) in the area around the national capital, Maputo, in 2016, as a result of vandalism and theft of electricity.

Its director of client services, Neves Xavier, says power theft, through illegal connections, occurred mainly in urban areas, while the destruction of electricity installations occurred mainly in the expansion areas of neighbouring Matola municipality.

We have this question of clandestine connections. We are dismantling networks of illegal power connections almost every day, he said in an interview with Radio Mozambique.

In Matola, destruction is often caused by traffic accidents when vehicles hit electricity pylons. Motorists are responsible for this vandalism. When the weekends come, it’s always a challenge in Matola to make the rounds and see where pylons have been hit, said Xavier.

Xavier promised that in 2017, EDM will step up inspection throughout Maputo Province. He urged members of the public to report all cases of clandestine connections and destruction of electricity infrastructure.

We are also urging all those individuals and companies who tow away damaged vehicles not to remove them without EDM authorisation if they find that the vehicles have damaged pylons,” he added. We are also co-operating with the police, so that when a vehicle that damaged a pylon is identified, the police immediately contact EDM.”

When EDM itself identifies the vehicle, it contacts the police so that proceedings can immediately be started against the motorist concerned, Xavier added.