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ATHENS, May 5 (Reuters) - Power theft is costing Greece's dominant power utility Public Power Corp (PPC) about 170 million euros ($187 million) in lost income each year, it said on Friday, citing estimates by Greek energy regulator.
PPC has already been hit by 2.2 billion euros in unpaid bills as Greece's seven-year economic crisis leaves a growing number of households struggling to pay. This, and Greece's use of easy to hack analogue meters, has encouraged energy fraud in poor neighbourhoods.
"It is a major problem that must be addressed as a top priority," PPC said in a statement, adding that the total impact including lost revenue from uncollected taxes stands at about 250 million euros.
Public disclosures by the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO), which checks meters, show that verified cases of theft climbed to 10,600 last year, up from 8,880 in 2013 and 4,470 in 2012. ($1 = 0.9109 euros) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Karolina Tagaris and David Goodman)