ELECTRICITY fraud is on the rise because of the recession, with nearly a sixth of all connections fraudulent.
Following 53,000 inspections last year, Iberdrola reported that 8,000 connections were found to be fraudulent.
This is an increase of 2,000 on the previous year.
All 8,000 connections were customers who had registered an excessively low consumption, but who were stealing considerably more.
They included nightclubs, pubs and building sites.
Iberdrola, which has fined all fraudulent users, has now introduced a new remote meter system which detects any sudden or suspicious changes in electricity supply.
A company spokesman said: “When a user steals energy, they are hurting all other consumers as they are increasing the cost of electricity for everyone.”