PDD invents novel idea to curb power pilferage
Tip on tip-offs
Jammu, Nov 25: To tide over power pilferage, the Power Development Department (PDD) has come up with a novel idea: The department has decided to entice people, whom it will call khabris (informers), with concession in power bills in lieu of their informing the PDD about the energy theft in their areas.
Sources said the fielding of khabris for gathering information about power ‘thieves’ is yet another desperate attempt by the department to tide over the power pilferage and increase its revenues.
Besides, according to the senior officials of the department, the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) is amending the J&K Electricity Act to incorporate certain sections in it that would provide for more stringent action against those indulging in power “theft”.
The decision to give more teeth to the State Electricity Act, according to sources, was taken following repeated admonitions by the Centre to the State “over its failure to curb the T&D losses and achieving revenue targets.”
The khabris or informers, sources said, in return of their tip off to the department would get concession in their power bills even to the extent of waiving off the full monthly bills of their establishments or households.
“It is the best way to discourage the power theft in the state,” said an official.
When contacted, Chief Engineer Muhammad Qasim said, “These are some of the ways being introduced to expose the black sheep who are making the department to suffer huge financial losses.”
He confirmed that present laws are being given more teeth so that large scale reforms are undertaken in the sector. “The new law shall provide up to one month jail for those caught in power theft, besides heavy fine. A consumer forum is also being proposed to be incorporated in the new Act.”
Since 2004 when the state government started a massive project to streamline the power sector in J&K, PDD has taken many steps to curb the power losses and increase its revenue, but not much progress has been made.
Two years back the department had brought nearly 5000 Meter Reading Instruments (MRI) under the Accelerated Power Development Reforms Programme (APDRP) to check the tempering with the e-meters. But the department could not use the instrument for want of trained staff.
Nearly six lakh e-meters have been installed in J&K since the power reforms were initiated. The aim of the reforms was to check the misuse of the electricity and make the revenue recovery a norm among the people.
As the installation of e-meters also failed to curtail the power losses in the state, PDD in a last ditch effort decided to seek help of Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2009 to install High Voltage Distribution System to curtail theft of electricity, but that project also could not be carried out properly, sources said.
At present the state is suffering average 60 per cent Accumulated Transmission and Commercial (AT&C) losses, officials said.
They said during 2004-05 about 24052 households were covered under the e-metering drive in the state. “Similarly in 2005-06, 42129 meters were installed in both the regions of the state and in 2006-07, 149206 more meters were installed across the state.”
However, despite these efforts the department has failed to achieve intended targets.
Interestingly, according to sources, nearly 23,500 e-meters were damaged by the unruly mobs in Jammu province during the 63-day long land agitation causing Rs 2.46 crore loss to the state exchequer.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Nov 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Nov 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 26 Nov 2010 00:00:00 IST
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