Jordan’s Biggest Power Theft!

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Tue 3 October / Oct 2017. 12:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Tue 3 October / Oct 2017. 07:57 PM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

“The Jordan National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) and the Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission (EMRC) uncovered the single largest power theft extension in Jordan’s history, around JOD300 thousand worth of unlicensed grid facilities, excluding the cost of the power itself.”

According to Petra’s source at NEPCO, the technical inspection uncovered that the perpetrators stretched high voltage wires across 3 kilometres to the distribution grid.

It’s a good thing that this “theft” was caught.

A factory and a farm which spreads over 1000 square metres have been free riding NEPCO for a while it seems. But the question is, for how long?

The second question is how on earth did it happen? How did they manage do get it done, in broad daylight, so openly, unafraid and in total dismissal of the law?!

In truth, when NEPCO described it as the “single largest power theft” in Jordan’s history, this by default means that power theft is not unique to this particular incident.

If anything, power theft is probably a thing that is detected and addressed on a larger, far more common scale.

Power and water theft is somewhat common in many communities who seem to believe themselves to be outside of the law; unaccountable legally, for what they do.

Those seem to think they have the right to bully the state, influential members of these communities think the state will just turn a blind eye to their infringements and thefts. Not once stopping to consider that maybe, just maybe, they are committing crimes against the country and their fellow citizens, rather than the state itself!

In the meantime, the other truth is that this isn’t, per se, the largest theft in Jordan’s history. The scale of service theft; water, electricity, public services, combined, in the generality of Jordan’s various areas is discombobulating.

Do you remember the one time an influential figure was reported drilling for water in the ground beneath his home, using massive equipment? When his violation was exposed and the authorities knocked at his door, he resisted.

In fact, he would not have been arrested had it not been for a decision that came from the top levels of command.

There is an abundance of incidents on water theft in the Jordan Valley and other areas!

In the overall, there seems to be a socio-cultural-political context for these “crimes”. One which legitimates such infringements in practicality, maybe even forcing the state to disregard them.

There are, to this very day, districts in whole with an unlimited, free supply of electricity. Either that, or theft!

We should not have to say this; that these violations are far greater than the mere concept of power or water, and that this needs to be addressed, resolved, and put to an end, now!

It should be obvious to all of us that this just cannot go on.

The culture which legitimises power or water theft, notwithstanding, has a political, symbolic standing, beyond just the economics of it.

It has roots deep into the core of citizenship and the citizen’s relationship with the state. It has more to do with the rule of law, the authority of the state, and the values of lawfulness, than it has to do with the economics!

The same goes for tax evaders. For there are those who steal away power and water, and there are those who outright steal the public’s money, shamelessly.

Technicality aside, they’re not really different from one another. They are thieves, plundering on the people’s funds and resources!

Ironically, every one of them has got something to say to justify what they are doing, the tax evaders and the service thieves, along with everybody who thinks they are above the law.

They think they are in the right, taking for themselves the justice they deem is owed to them!

Meanwhile, the truth of it goes deeper than the surface justification.

The public has no faith in the rule of law or in the concepts of equality.

More so, the people, mostly, have no real understanding of the moral, legal, political, cultural, and societal aspects to their relationship with the state.

In 2017, the “social contract” which is otherwise the foundation of the state, is still frail.

It is either that, or it has simply just deteriorated and is falling apart in these last few years.

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.