ISLAMABAD - The federal government has amended the Electricity Act and declared electricity theft a non-bailable crime, enabling the arrest of offender without warrant with a sentence up to rigorous seven-year imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 10 million.

The new law, which is first of its kind in the country’s history, further empowered the government to confiscate and auction the defaulter’s property to recover the outstanding bills. The offender will be tried in Electricity Utility Court.

A statement issued by the spokesperson for the Ministry of Water and Power stated that the law has been amended to ensure severe punishment for power theft and has already been passed from the parliament and approved by President Mamnoon Hussain.

Earlier, due to lenient laws and negligible punishment, the violators been not been punished to the extent to bar them and other violators from committing the crime. Under the new law, the huge fines and years-long rigorous imprisonments will definitely discourage the crime, the spokesman further said. Several clauses have been incorporated, in the new law, including clause 462M of the law is pertaining to damaging or destroying or destructing the transmission lines, distribution lines, electric meters etc. The criminal shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to seven years and with fine which shall not be less than three million rupees.