DILG to PNP, LGUs: Go after power thieves

January 29, 2021

Amidst reports of continued pilferage of electric transmission lines, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to assist local government units (LGUs) and electric distribution utilities (EDUs) in inspecting electric facilities and in identifying and penalizing power thieves.

"We received reports on the theft of power cables and rampant use of illegal jumpers, especially in informal settler communities. We have therefore directed the PNP and LGUs to work with EDUs in pinning down power thieves who illegally use electricity or commit theft of electric power transmission lines and materials,” said DILG Officer-in-Charge Bernardo Florece, Jr.

He also tasked the PNP and concerned LGUs to assist EDUs in preventing and removing obstructions to electric power lines pursuant to the Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act.

Florece issued the directive after the Department signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) committing to ensure public safety and continued delivery of electric service to consumers by EDUs.

In his directive, he also urged LGUs to ensure that permits, certifications, rights-of-way, and other pertinent documents required by law for the operation of EDUs are issued within the timeline set under the Ease of Doing Business Act.

“Electricity is essential in our day-to-day activities. LGUs should therefore fast track the issuance, approval, and release of permits and other requirements necessary for EDUs operations," he said.

He also said that LGUs must ensure that the transaction charges they impose on EDUs comply with the provisions of DILG-Department of Finance (DOF) Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) 2019-01 on reasonable regulatory charges.

To ensure that power pilferers will be made to account for their illegal acts, the DILG OIC also enjoined LGUs to enact ordinances parallel with the national laws on anti-electricity pilferage and include mechanisms to identify and penalize violators.

He also asked the Bureau of Fire Protection to provide the PNP with relevant information on fire incidents caused by damaged, destroyed, or compromised electric power transmission lines or facilities.