When customers decide to dispense with the fraudulent mechanism, the Electric Company employees retaliate
HAVANA TIMES – Camila, 52 years old, checks the number on the meter up to three times a day. She leaves her apartment in the Wajay neighborhood in Havana, reaches the common area where all the devices of the five-storey building and dozens of apartments are located and takes a photo of the number shown on the screen before returning home. Four weeks ago she dropped out from a mechanism to steal electricity in complicity with an employee of the Electric Union (EU).
“When you get out of this business they punish you,” she tells 14ymedio. “I had been paying “on the left” [the informal market] for two years to get a much lower reading, but I am no longer interested in continuing. Now they are going after electricity frauds, and I don’t want to get stuck in this.” Another reason not to continue with illegal payments in exchange for a receipt with lower wattage: “My two children have emigrated, and my husband and I no longer consume so much electricity.”
For more than three years, Camila was one of the many Cubans who, in collaboration with UNE workers, received an electricity bill well below the amount of energy she actually used. “It wasn’t so much to save money, because at the end of the day I was paying; it was so I wouldn’t be noted as a high consumer,” she says. “My husband has an official position, and it is not convenient for him to get a very high reading.”
Time passed, and the couple decided to drop out of the fraud, but they fear that the employee involved in the agreement will penalize them. “When you tell him that you don’t want to continue, the next few mon