By Evie Andreou
The Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) has launched a probe into the illegal upgrade of a meter in an establishment in Pyla, allegedly by one of its officials, the utility’s spokeswoman Christina Papadopoulou said on Tuesday.
The EAC received reports last Wednesday, Papadopoulou said, that one of its officials had upgraded the meter of an establishment owned by a Turkish Cypriot in Pyla, without authorisation from the EAC.
“Following the reports, the EAC, accompanied by a UN car, went to the establishment and removed the illegal upgrade,” Papadopoulou said.
She added that the EAC has ordered an investigation into the issue, which is expected to be completed within the week, and that it will proceed with actions based on the findings, and following EAC regulations.
It was reported that the establishment, whose meter was upgraded, was intended to operate as a casino.
Granting electricity free of charge to the Turkish Cypriot community of Pyla has been a sore point for several years. Since 1964, following the intercommunal riots, the then government decided for political reasons to supply free electricity to the Turkish Cypriot community in Pyla and this practice continued after the invasion in 1974, until today.
Free electricity has urged several establishment owners to utilise the situation to their benefit as they run businesses, among them casinos, with much lower operational costs. According to data, the 300 establishments owned by Turkish Cypriots in Pyla on average consume annually more than three times the electricity the 620 Greek Cypriot establishments consume.
The House Watchdog Committee last month censured the EAC for not taking any actions in order to collect the money owed to it by the Turkish Cypriots owners of establishments in Pyla, some €1.3m last year alone. The utility said that it cannot resolve this singlehandedly, as it is a political matter.
The EAC had also said that it cannot disconnect the meters, as there have been several attempts in the past, which were met with aggressive reactions by residents.