Hi-tech dose fails to check power thefts

February 24, 2018 10:51 AM

Punjab News Express/Y.S. Rana
CHANDIGARH: Despite number of steps to stop power theft the end result shows that electricity theft is substantiate in magnitude. The extent of theft varies with the electoral cycle of the state. Even the use of hi-tech electronic meters and crackdowns by power discoms have failed to check power theft across the country. Power thefts continue to swell and it is one of the biggest contributors to power-deficiency in the country. End result is that power- rich States with power-deficient people.

According to the data compiled by the Union ministry of power (MoP), transmission and distribution losses at the national level were about 22.77 per cent in 2014-15 and 21.81 per cent in 2015-16. Himachal Pradesh incurred less AT and C losses than the national average. The state incurred 18.75 per cent transmission and distribution losses in 2015-16 and state is making all out efforts to bring losses to 10 per cent by 2020.

Some states incurred higher losses than the national average in financial year 15-16 and these include states like Madhya Pradesh (28.61%), Rajasthan (29.13%), Chhattisgarh (30.78%), Haryana (31.61%), Odisha (39.15), Bihar (49.29%) and Jammu and Kashmir (50.06%).

It is also estimated that more than 20 per cent of the power generated in the country is lost to rampant thefts. The states with a higher number of theft cases than national capital in the past three years are—Uttrar Pradesh with a little over 1.53 lakh cases, Haryana with 1.64 lakh cases and Madhya Pradesh tops the list of power thefts cases with 3.65 lakh. Apart almost all states have power theft cases in industrial, commercial and agriculture consumer categories. Overall, more than 11.46 lakh power theft cases were registered in the last three years in the country.

While in 2009 Himachal Pradesh has recorded zero power theft case has now recorded 260 cases. According to official data, inspection over1.10 lakh cases was carried out in 2014-15 detected 260 theft cases accounted for 0.26 MU of power theft costing Rs 5.96 crore.  In the region, Haryana tops the list of power thefts. It shows that people continue with their old habits despite stricter laws, implementation and more vigil.

Mandatory deployment of smart power meters was included in the National Tariff Policy-2016. The MoP has also suggested 100 per cent metering at all levels to ‘facilitate energy audit’ and rationalization of tariffs. The state has achieved more than 90 per cent electrification of households. All villages in districts Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Sirmour, Solan have been electrified.

The official of the electricity board (operation) admitted that as yet all consumers have not been provided with hi-tech power meters in the state. The state serves over 22 lakh power consumers with 93,943 kms HT/EHT and LT lines in the state. Besides, under Deen Dayal Upathyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna, the state government has been providing free electricity connection to BPL households. Out of 19,578 BPL households were sanctioned free electricity connections, 16,290 have been provided, compared to Haryana 1.98 lakh and Punjab 92,988 BPL households. Still approximately 4.61 crore households are without power in the country.

Himachal Pradesh also tops in per capita per month power consumption in rural as well as urban areas with 31.9 units in rural areas and 48.6 units in urban areas which comes out 1099 kwh per capita consumption in the state against 1075 Kwh all India per capita consumption of power.

At any given time, approximately a third of the state’s more than 22 lakh consumers are typically without electricity. Much of this deficiency is due to non-technical line losses such as electricity theft and meter tempering.   Power theft is a state issue and every state should check it to improve the situation in their own state but it is found that hi-tech steps of state governments have failed to check power theft.

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