The Government of President Daniel Ortega proposed a reform of the Energy Stability Law in Nicaragua in which it authorizes energy distributors to claim non-judicial enforcement titles to delinquent customers.
The Law initiative, presented this Monday before the plenary of the National Assembly (Parliament), also proposes to sanction users or technicians who comment on electrical fraud.
The Board of Directors referred that initiative to the Commission of Infrastructure and Public Services, dominated by the government, for its analysis.
According to the Executive, the reform of that Law seeks to promote the lawful use of the public electric power service, through the prevention and punishment of behaviors that threaten the development and stability of that service to the population.
The initiative proposes to sanction the one who installs on their own or through third-party connections that prevent the energy consumed from passing through the measuring device.
Also to those who manipulate or alter their own measurement devices or other users, in order to avoid or modify the total record of the energy supplied by the distribution company and that the customer has consumed.
In addition, to those who sell electricity to third parties, or who handle the verification equipment installed by the Nicaraguan Institute of Energy (INE), the regulatory entity of the sector.
Likewise, the Executive's proposal establishes that, in order to verify the subtraction of energy, "all hours and days are working to carry out inspections".
For these cases, according to the initiative, photos, videos or an act with two witnesses certifying the illegal theft of electricity will be accepted as evidence.
Another point indicates that any invoice issued by electric power distribution companies that is legally in default will be recognized as enforceable as non-judicial enforcement titles.
In the case of people, who being customers of the distribution companies Disnorte and Dissur, and have been proven as illegal energy subtractors may be published in a public list.
The parliamentary opposition denounced that this proposal "criminalizes poverty" and that the Executive demonstrates "indolence" in the face of the social, political and economic crisis that the country has been experiencing since April 2018.
"Here it is being said that the debts for the energy bill are enough to confiscate or seize wages, vehicles, televisions and all their assets," said opposition deputy Azucena Castillo, who warned that Nicaragua is living its second year followed by economic contraction and that has hit household income.
According to calculations by the Energy Chamber, the commercial losses of the energy distributors have risen from 5 to 10% due to late payment, which means about 6 million dollars annually.
The State of Nicaragua has 16% of the shares in the distributors and the rest is private equity.
The rate of electricity has increased by 14.55% so far this year in Nicaragua for the productive, commercial and residential sector, according to data released by the regulator.
To this increase of 14.55% is added an additional 3.75% corresponding to the slide of the dollar in relation to Cordoba, the national currency, with which the increase would total 18.3% between January and September, according with the records of the INE.
Consumer organizations have warned that these increases in the rate of electricity strongly affect Nicaraguan families.
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