Trying to fiddle the electricity is something that has been going on for years. I remember hearing of people in Britain who used magnets and other devices to stop the wheel in the meter from turning. I also heard of people trying to connect to the supply before the meter and even hooking up to street lights to get themselves free electricity.
Where the cables are underground, it is very difficult to get yourself free electricity but of course, in many parts of Spain, the cables are still carried on poles especially in areas where there would not have been a supply before the houses were built. Making a connection to a pole is obviously a whole lot easier.
I read in the papers this morning that engineers from Iberdrola, accompanied by officers from the Guardia Civil, visited houses in Orihuela, Bigastro and Benejúzar where the owners had connected up to the poles that carry overhead cables to get themselves free electricity. The houses were apparently in the poorer areas of the towns.
In some cases Iberdrola suspect the fraud may well have been going on undetected for years. The neighbours knew what was happening but were afraid to report the cases for fear of reprisals.
The company say that it will be very difficult to work out exactly how much electricity was consumed without payment because they have no no way to meter an illegal connection to the poles that carry the cables.
The engineers from Iberdrola dismantled the connections and warned the individuals of criminal proceedings but they know it will only be a matter of days before new connections are made. They now need to find a way to prevent these people from making a connection to the overhead cables.