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Pilfering materials from CFE cost 75 million pesos in 9 months: report

Copper cable, computer equipment, video projectors, printers, pipes, antennas and even vehicles are stolen

The theft of materials and equipment from Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) plants cost the public utility 75 million pesos (US $3.8 million) in the first nine months of the year.

Information obtained by the newspaper El Universal via a freedom of information request reveals that a wide range of assets are stolen from CFE facilities including tools, tanks of gas, copper cable, screws, computer equipment, video projectors, printers, pipes, antennas, thermographic cameras, air conditioners and even vehicles.

Thieves sell the stolen goods on the black market or to CFE competitors, El Universal said.

Sources inside the state-owned company told the newspaper that CFE workers are likely responsible for the vast majority of thefts, although outsiders also pilfer materials from the utility. Some private security company personnel who work at CFE plants are believed to be complicit with the crime.

According to the information obtained by El Universal, practically all CFE facilities across the country are affected.

However, more than half of the losses incurred in the first nine months of this year – just under 38.7 million pesos – were the result of thefts in the Valley of Mexico. More than 3 million pesos worth of assets were stolen from the Volcanes and Tacuba plants, while the Toluca plant suffered losses of just under 3 million pesos.

El Universal said that CFE management, led by director Manuel Bartlett, doesn’t appear to be overly concerned about theft on the inside of the company, explaining that there is more emphasis on stopping criminals from stealing cable conductor and steel from transmission towers.

The newspaper also noted that there is barely a mention of theft inside CFE facilities in publicly available documents.

One reason why there is little focus on the problem could be that the losses it causes the company are dwarfed by those it incurs due to electricity theft and technical issues.

Stolen electricity cost the CFE 30 billion pesos (US $1.5 billion) last year, and technical issues accounted for a similar loss.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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