Illegal electricity usage in several southeastern Turkish provinces in 2013 led to a shortfall of TL 4.9 billion in national electricity bill receipts, a figure which was divided among the 35 million Turkish households registered with energy companies and led to an additional TL 140 cost per household last year, the Vatan daily reported on Wednesday.
Last year, the Turkish Electricity Distribution Company (TEDAŞ) concluded four privatization tenders, selling Dicle, Vangölü, Toroslar and İstanbul’s Anatolian Side electricity companies for a total of around $3.4 billion.
İşkaya-Doğu Consortium won the Dicle Electric Distribution A.Ş. (DEDAŞ) privatization tender with an offer of $387 million. Çalık Energy, Mes A.Ş.-İşkur A.Ş. Consortium and Fernas Construction were the other three bidders in the tender, which opened with a value of $226 million. DEDAŞ supplies electricity to the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakır, Şanlıurfa, Mardin, Batman, Siirt and Şırnak, where 71.4 percent of the population uses electricity illegally, leading to the TL 4.9 billion shortfall.
The methods used by pro-government Turkish businessman Abdullah Tivnikli, one of the partners in DEDAŞ, when financing the tender has been a matter of discussion in Turkish banking circles. Tivnikli had received loans from the bank Kuveyt Türk, where he is deputy board manager, to finance the energy privatization. Tivnikli owns 30 percent of shares in DEDAŞ. Observers have said that lending to his own firms would create non-performing loan problems in the long-term.
Another crucial factor in the very high shortfall is that according to Energy Ministry data, the electricity usage in the southeastern provinces increased by 24 percent between 2009-2013, reaching 19.3 billion kilowatts.
Speaking to Vatan daily, DEDAŞ spokesperson Mehmet Gökay Üstün said that only 4.6 billion kilowatts of total electricity consumption was paid for. “The total cost of the electricity usage amounted to TL 6.4 billion, including tax. But only TL 1.5 billion was paid. The rest, amounting to TL 4.9 billion, was paid by registered electricity subscribers nationwide,” said Üstün.
Üstün also stressed that after privatization, the rate of illegal electricity usage dropped by 1 percent, preventing a loss of almost TL 40 million.
During budget talks in Parliament in December last year, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız said that debts incurred by those who steal electricity in Turkey will be written off if they register as electricity users.
During his speech, Yıldız said that electricity piracy in Turkey needed to be reduced urgently. “We will get our citizens to start paying [for the electricity they use],” Yıldız said.