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What is an illegal electricity connection and what to do if you see one

Illegal connections are considered to be both an energy fraud and a danger to public safety. We explain what you need to do should you discover one.

An illegal electricity connection is the unlawful alteration of the electrical installation and the electricity transport grid to pay less (or simply not pay) for the energy consumed.

This practice has negative effects on the bills of other consumers and on the tax collection of the State. It promotes unfair competition and puts the safety of all neighbours at risk. It poses a significant danger to both the operators working on the installations and to all the residents of the residential block. The chances of fire and electrical overloads are increased, which can cause serious damage to household appliances or the entire electrical system.

Illegal connections are considered an offence under article 255 of the Criminal Code. Should there be the slightest suspicion that there is an illegal connection, it should be reported.

 

How to detect an illegal electricity connection?

The alarm bells go off when there is something suspicious on the electricity bill, such as a sudden increase. Why is that? Should we think the worst? The most poorly done illegal connections are easily visible, but nowadays there are "experts" who may have manipulated the meter and it is not evident. As this is easily checked, is best to make sure.

It is most common for an illegal connection to be done from the meter room and the best way to find out if someone is stealing electricity is to pay attention to the consumption. If there is something unusual on the bill, you can ask your electricity company why this might be. You can also carry out your own checks, in which case the next step is to go to the meter room and follow these steps:

  • Write down the exact reading on the meter.
  • Turn the power off at the mains of your home or business to eliminate any type of electricity consumption.
  • Allow prudent amount of time to pass and check the meter again. If there is nothing unusual on the grid, then the reading should be exactly the same as the one you wrote down.
  • If the consumption has increased, it is quite likely that someone in your block is committing electricity fraud with an illegal connection.

In this case, report it as soon as possible so that the experts can check that everything is in order and whether there is an illegal electricity connection or not. You can contact the authorities or, better still, the distribution company.

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Who do you report an illegal electricity connection to?

If there are signs of an alleged electricity fraud, contact the distribution company in your area. This can be reported anonymously.

If the electricity contract is with Endesa, E-Distribución provides three options to report the fraud to its customers: by telephone, on freephone  800 760 220; by sending an e-mail, to 'anomalias@endesa.es', or via a web form.

What data is required to file a report? It is necessary to send all information possible about the supplier, especially its location, so the company may identify the problem and review the installation. The location will be by the exact postal address, or by the CUPS (Universal Supply Point Code) if known. If the report is sent by web form, it will be necessary to complete the sections 'situation found' and 'comments'.

If you wish, you may leave contact details (name, surnames, email and telephone number) which will of course be treated confidentially. In the case that you have taken a photo using your mobile phone or you have some other document that may help, you will be given the option to attach these files on the form.

Thanks to these reports, Endesa can provide a better energy service. E-Distribution uses new technologies to locate these illegal connections faster and more accurately: Big data, neural networks, video scopes, tracers that function using ultrasound, long-range thermographic cameras or the "grid analyser". The latter is a small device that is installed without having to cut the supply and registers what is really used and what actually goes through the meter.

 

What is the penalty for an illegal collection?

The penalty for the crime of electricity fraud via an illegal connection is high and no joke. If the fraud exceeds the value of 400 euros it may be punished by months in prison and the fine can vary between 1,000 and 2,000 euros. If it is not possible to know the figure defrauded, the law states that the amount to be billed will be 100% of the electrical power contracted for 6 hours a day in the last year.

In addition to this, in the case of electricity fraud, it is normal for the electricity supplier to disconnect the electricity at this supply point. In this case, there will be a charge for reconnecting the service.

Comparison of Electricity and Gas Tariffs

You don't need to adapt to Endesa's tariffs because they adapt to you. If you go to our catalogue you can compare the different tariffs for yourself. Or if you prefer, you can answer a few questions about your consumption habits and we will take care of comparing all the different electricity and gas tariffs and then make a customised recommendation.

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