JOB cuts at Big Six energy firm Electricite de France (EDF) could mean hundreds of “energy thieves” are left uncaught, union reps warned yesterday.
General union Unite understands that EDF Energy’s 43-strong revenue protection team in London will be cut by half as a result of 6,000 job cuts across the globe.
Unite officer Onay Kasab said the job cuts would mark “an early Easter present for electricity thieves” and that EDF would be seen as a “soft touch” for electricity fraud.
Regulator Ofgem estimates that electricity worth £200 million is stolen every year when landlords, business owners and individuals tamper with their meters.
Unite says it is likely that £30 million of this is stolen from EDF, but the company has only been able to identify cases worth £3 million over two years.
“What this shows is that EDF only discovers a tiny proportion of the thefts — yet it is cutting the very team that can staunch this tidal wave of stolen electricity,” Mr Kasab said.
“Meanwhile energy bills have gone through the roof and there are an estimated 43,000 deaths each year from fuel poverty.
“The criminals make hay while the poor struggle to keep warm and the lights on. It is a scandal.”
EDF is currently the only electricity supplier which does not attempt to recover the value of stolen energy from convicted thieves. Unite said it was planning to report the company to Ofgem.