Albanian Power Company Cracks Down on Theft

The Albanian state-owned energy company OSHEE has sacked scores of workers this week as part of its continuing attempts to tackle the problem of electricity theft.

OSHEE said on Tuesday said that in the last two days, 78 of its employees in Tirana have been fired for poor performance, allowing people to steal power, and not fulfilling customer service requirements. The state-owned energy company has asked the public prosecutor to investigate five of them over allegations of abuse of office.

“The actions came after a full analysis and a company investigation carried out in the field,” OSSHE said in a statement. Albania has long had a problem with the installation of illegal power lines and the non-payment of electricity bills. Whole neighbourhoods have been known to steal electricity through illegally-installed lines. Some OSHEE employees also took bribes to cover up people’s non-payment of their bills.

The government started to cut illegal cables in 2014 and called on all consumers to pay their bills. As a result, hundreds of people all over the country were arrested for not paying their energy bills, sparking debates about whether the move was too harsh. The OSSHE press office told BIRN that its 2016 strategy is focused on improving customer service. “We really need to improve the public image of the company and contribute in the war against corruption. It not only damages the company but also the interests of citizens,” it said.

Balkan Insight 

13 January 2016