Consumer Issues
In US, 1994 Honda Accord is car thieves' favourite heist

Consumer Affairs, a US-based consumer news and advocacy site says the annual list of most-stolen vehicles is dominated by models from the 1990s

 
If you are worried that car thieves are coveting your shiny new luxury car perhaps you should be more concerned about the other car in your garage, if it happens to be a 1994 Honda Accord. It turns out that's the car thieves really want.
 
Each year the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) picks its “Hot Wheels,” its list of the 10 most-stolen vehicles in the United States for the previous year. The report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen in 2011.
 
The remarkable thing about the list is most of the cars are 1990s vintage. The newest model is a 2006 Ford pickup, which is the third most desirable vehicle in the eyes of a thief. Why isn't your 2010 Toyota Prius or 2011 Volkswagen Passat on the list?
 
It's not that they aren't nice vehicles, but the reason a thief takes a car is usually to strip it down and sell the parts. Older vehicles are more valuable because there are more vehicles like them on the road that need parts. An increasing number of stolen cars are being resold -- intact -- overseas.
 
The top 10 “hot cars” were evenly split in 2011 with five belonging to foreign brands and five to U.S. automakers. Most popular models among the domestic brands were Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet pickup trucks each holding one spot with the Dodge Caravan and Ford Explorer rounding out the domestic models.
 
Here's the complete list:
 
1. 1994 Honda Accord
2. 1998 Honda Civic
3. 2006 Ford Pickup (Full Size)
4. 1991 Toyota Camry
5. 2000 Dodge Caravan
6. 1994 Acura Integra
7. 1999 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
8. 2004 Dodge Pickup (Full Size)
9. 2002 Ford Explorer
10. 1994 Nissan Sentra
 
Car thefts have declined in recent years and NICB says 2011 appears to uphold that trend. Preliminary 2011 FBI crime statistics indicate a 3.3 percent reduction from the 737,142 thefts recorded in 2010. Vehicle thefts have not been this low since 1967. And while older models tend to dominate the list of most stolen vehicles, that doesn't mean your late model car is safe.
 
“While overall thefts continue to decline, we are seeing a trend toward increases in the thefts of late model vehicles -- ones that are theoretically harder to steal due to sophisticated key code technology,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “Today’s vehicle thieves are typically professional criminals who have figured out how to get the key code for a specific vehicle, have a replacement key made, and steal the vehicle within a matter of days.”
 
NICB says it is aware of nearly 300 thefts that took place in the first three months of this year in which thieves possessed replacement keys using illegally obtained key codes. The group says many thefts can be prevented by simply locking your car and taking your keys. More sophisticated and expensive deterrents include a warning system, an immobilizing device and a tracking device.
 
(Courtesy: ConsumerAffairs.com/Mark Huffman)
 
 

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MERC puts 300 units cap for switchover from RInfra to Tata Power

Only those residential category consumers whose average monthly consumption over the previous 12 months is up to 300 units a month, shall be eligible to changeover from Reliance Infra to Tata Power, the MERC said

 
Mumbai: Electricity regulator Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) in an order said consumer migration from Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) to Tata Power Co (TPC) will be allowed only for residential customers using up to 300 units a month, reports PTI.
 
"Consumer changeover will be allowed from RInfra to Tata Power only for the residential category of consumers and that too only for the consumers who consume electricity up to 300 units a month," MERC said in the order.
 
RInfra had filed a petition before MERC seeking relief on account of certain issues affecting its customer base and financial viability due to switchover by consumers to Tata Power.
 
"The Commission has come to the conclusion that there is a need to intervene in the manner of changeover and switchover of consumers, as being undertaken by the parties.
 
"There is a need to calibrate the migration of consumers from one licensee to another, to ensure a level- playing field and also to protect the interests of low-end consumers being supplied electricity in the common area of supply between RInfra and TPC," the order said.
 
"For identifying the target segment for consumer changeover, only those residential category consumers whose average monthly consumption over the previous 12 months is up to 300 units a month, shall be eligible to changeover from RInfra to TPC." 
 
However, the regulator noted the restriction shall not apply to pending applications for changeover, irrespective of consumer category and consumption slab, which will be processed as per the earlier protocol approved in the interim order dated 15 October 2009 and changeover for eligible consumers shall be done in a smooth manner. 
 
"This order would help 22 lakh low end residential consumers of suburban Mumbai. Owing to inadequate cross subsidy, many high end consumes, who were subsidising low end consumers and keeping the tariffs low, were migrating," the RInfra spokesperson said.
 
The electricity regulator had observed that for all consumers, who have changed over before the order or who have already applied and are eligible for changeover, the supply will be given by Tata Power using the RInfra network till such time as Tata Power develops its own distribution network in the area.
 
"The MERC has maintained our right to switch consumers to our wires and also suggested parallel network in 11 clusters for direct consumers, which is a positive development. Tata Power is studying the order and would always be happy to serve the customers with fairness and transparency," Tata Power statement said further.
 
The Commission in its order had said it would monitor the progress of consumer addition by Tata Power (switchover and new connections) on quarterly basis, and both RInfra and TPC would be required to submit the desired information for every quarter.
 
RInfra supplies power to Mumbai's suburbs and surrounding areas like Mira Road and Bhayander in adjoining Thane district. Tata Power and state-run utility BEST cater to consumers in South Mumbai with the former also supplying in the suburbs.
 

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