The Malta Independent 19 September 2019, Thursday

Government busts smart meter tampering racket

Malta Independent Tuesday, 11 February 2014, 19:25 Last update: about 6 years ago

The government has busted a “well organised racket” dealing in tampered smart meters. Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi said that internal investigations into the matter began in May, and three Enemalta employees have now been suspended.

Speaking at a press conference this evening, Dr Mizzi said that the “breakthrough” discovery resulted in 1,000 smart meters being tested, with the dodgy meters being set to record less units than those actually consumed.

The smart meters are designed to log water and electricity consumption remotely, without the need for a physical meter reading.

Dr Mizzi said that Malta already has the highest electricity theft rate at an estimated 10% of total power consumption, costing the corporation around €30 million a year.

The Energy Minister said that both smart meters used in households as well as those in business have been tampered with.

An Enemalta official said that the sealed smart meters are extremely difficult to tamper with without detection, which goes to show that the racket functioned with a high level of sophistication.

Some of the smart meters were shipped off to Italy for inspection by Italian energy corporation Enel. Enel initially found nothing wrong with the meters, but further investigations uncovered the tampering.

Dr Mizzi pointed out that allegations of smart meter tampering had emerged in 2012 in certain sections of the media, but the previous administration took no action.

He expressed his disappointment that the tampering appeared to have been carried out by Enemalta employee, and called it very unfair on honest consumers.

The investigations have now been handed over to the Police. 

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