The U.K.'s energy regulator proposed new rules to combat electricity theft on Wednesday, revealing that up to one-third of electricity stolen each year is used to power cannabis farms.
"Theft of electricity increases the costs paid by customers and can have serious safety consequences. It leads to misallocation of costs among suppliers that can distort competition, and hamper the efficient functioning of the market. It also has links to organised crime, and in particular cannabis cultivation," said Chiara Redaelli, an economist at regulator Ofgem, in a report on tackling energy theft.
According to Ofgem, up to 25,000 cases of electricity theft take place each year, costing the industry at least 200 million pounds ($304 million), or around 7 pounds per customer. Around one-third of the illegally extracted electricity is used in cannabis cultivation.