Triple compared to the previous year: Enel Distribución recorded over 750 cases of cable theft in 2022

The theft of electric cables to extract copper is a criminal practice that has increased in recent years. During 2022, in fact, Enel Distribución recorded 759 cases within its concession area, with an increase of 314% compared to the previous year, when it had recorded 242. Thus, between January and December, they were stolen 30,360 drivers, which equates to more than 760 million pesos associated with replacement costs.

What are the consequences? These unlawful acts cause supply interruptions, damaging families affected by voltage surges, service interruptions and electric shocks that put both the technical personnel who deal with the maintenance of the distribution networks and those responsible for these types of crimes at serious risk. In fact, during 2022, seven people died while committing these crimes and one person suffered a serious accident. This represents an increase from 2021, when there were two fatal injuries within the company’s concession area.

When this type of situation occurs, the network’s security protections automatically activate, shutting off the power immediately when they detect this type of incident. However, the great intensity of the electric discharge often results in a fatal outcome for those who manipulate the network without knowledge or protection. It also affects the continuity and stability of supply in the sector where the crime occurs, damaging the quality of life of residents and the community.

“We are concerned about the increasing number of cable thefts. As a company, we cannot directly prevent these crimes, however, we take actions to limit them, such as repairing, sealing and changing room covers and implementing vault access control systems and permanent monitoring of our facilities, as well as maintaining permanent communication with several municipalities and Carabineros. However, we believe that there should be a specific law on the theft of cables that focuses on preventing the purchase and sale of copper from theft and takes care of the effects caused by this crime. We make a permanent appeal to the community to denounce these facts,” explained Víctor Tavera, general manager of Enel Distribución,” explained Victor Taverageneral manager of Enel Distribuzione.

“Cable theft is an increasing crime in the municipality and, in general, in the Metropolitan Region. When that happens, neighbors are badly affected by the number of hours without electricity. We are particularly concerned about hospitals and health centres, schools and commercial enterprises, as well as electrically dependent people. This is a problem that affects daily life and deteriorates neighborhood life. We want people, when they see a suspicious situation, to alert our number 1469, the telephone number that Enel has provided to the community or the 133 of the Carabineros, which is always a favorable way to inform”, commented Gonzalo Durán, mayor of Independencia,” he commented Gonzalo DuranMayor of Independence.

The municipality most affected by cable thefts in 2022 was Santiago, with 349 cases. Followed by Recoleta (170), Providencia (102) and Independencia (83). As a result, the company estimates that medium voltage cable thefts have harmed more than 170,000 customers. Likewise, between January and December, the expenses related to attention to faults and the repair of damaged cables amounted to approximately 769 million pesos, without considering the costs of the household appliances or equipment involved.

dissemination campaign

In addition to adopting measures to safeguard its plants, Enel Distribución periodically carries out dissemination campaigns through its digital communication channels and in the mass media to provide information on the risks associated with the theft of cables, highlighting that this is a crime that seriously jeopardizes the lives of the people who commit it, that of the technicians who carry out the maintenance and also of the neighbors and of the community that uses the public space. Likewise, make a call to anonymously report this criminal practice through the Call Center 600 696 00 00.

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