Neoenergia Group distributors have been conducting scanning operations since January to combat clandestine power connections in their concession areas - also known in Brazil as “cats" or “monkeys". In the most recent operations, “cats" were deactivated in commercial buildings and homes in Bahia and Rio Grande do Norte, states served by Coelba and Cosern, respectively. The other two distributors of the group - Celpe (PE) and Elektro (SP-MS) - are also engaged in these actions, called “Scanning Operation".
Coelba carried out inspections between January 14 and 24, and deactivated more than 200 clandestine connections from consumer units in the extreme south of Bahia. The abnormal situations were found in the most varied places, such as bars, slaughterhouses, restaurants, fishmongers and farms of the municipalities of Viçosa, Mucuri, Teixeira de Freitas, Alcobaça, Prado and Caravelas. Coelba's estimated energy misappropriation was 2.1 GWh (Gigawatt-hour), energy enough to supply about 18,000 homes during a month or equivalent to the monthly consumption of the entire municipality of Caravelas - during the same period.
At Cosern, operations are being performed for over 15 days. The action carried out by the concessionaire has shut down more than 30 illegally made "cats", which supplied about 150 homes in the city of Areia Branca in the State. Cosern technicians removed the irregular wires used for clandestine connections. Last Friday (2/1), Cosern returned to the Costa Blanca region, this time in the municipalities of Guamaré and Macau, with the support of the Military Police, where it identified other clandestine points of connection. The distributor deactivated the suplly of 467 homes with illegal switchboard, in two housing complexes in the neighborhood of Salina da Cruz and in Povoado Baixa do Meio, in Guamaré, and in the Nova Jerusalem Settlement, in Macau.
Shortly after the operation, Cosern officials went to Macau police station to file a police report. In 2018 alone, the distributor was able to recover, through Scanning Operation, nearly 22,000 MWh of energy that was being stolen by “cats" - energy enough to supply 17 municipalities of Seridó for 30 days.
The schedule of the Scanning Operation will be intensified by the four distributors of the Neoenergia Group. It started with Coelba, followed by Cosern and will continue with Celpe and Elektro. The purpose of the operation is to reduce the theft of power supply, create awareness in population and inspect the energy distribution points. In addition to illegal connections posing a risk of serious accidents to the population, stolen energy is paid by other consumers through the transfer in energy tariffs.
Neoenergia points out that theft of electricity is a crime, subject to the penalties of article 155 of the Brazilian Criminal Code, which may reach up to eight years in prison.