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Rs. 112.67 crore penalty levied on those caught stealing power

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T.S. Ranganna

The drive against power theft has cut distribution losses

BANGALORE: The five electricity supply companies (ESCOMS) in the State have made record earnings through penalties of Rs. 112.67 crore in 2008-09 following an intensive drive initiated by the officers and staff of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Vigilance and Enforcement Wing in Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. (KPTCL) and all Escoms throughout the State.

In his letters to Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and Minister for Energy K.S. Eswarappa, the Additional Chief Secretary K. Jairaj, Department of Energy said that the penalty imposed was four times more than what was levied in 2007-08.

Commending the record detection of theft and pilferage cases in installations and penalty imposed in 10 years by the team led by Alok Mohan, IGP, he told The Hindu that the drive led to a reduction of distribution losses by 2 per cent for the year for the Escoms.

The team comprised chief engineers and their personnel from all the three wings — operations, maintenance and meter testing — and police officers of the enforcement and vigilance wing.

In October 2009, the letter said that 49,924 installations were inspected and 7,302 installations were booked for theft and pilferage and misuse of power. A penalty of Rs. 11.16 crore has been imposed against them in the Escoms. Cumulatively, for the period of April-October 2009, 4.35 lakh inspections were conducted and 61,196 installations were booked levying a penalty of Rs. 74.24 crore.

The annual penalty levied for the last nine years had not crossed Rs. 36.14 crore (2007-08) and the least collected was Rs. 6.71 crore in 2002-03. There was a quantum jump in the detection and levy of penalty that started in November 2008 and the monthly levy of penalty touched the figure of Rs. 13.66 crore in June 2009.

Mr. Mohan said the input of energy was 42,000 mu in 2007-08 for which the transmission and distribution losses was 24 per cent. Quantifying the power loss due to theft and pilferage at 50 per cent of the T and D losses, he said it was at any time not less than Rs. 1,200 crore.

A reward giving scheme and issuing certificates to the officers were introduced. But the total amount on rewards was as low as 0.14 per cent of the penalty amount imposed.

The IGP said the nine factories/units had inserted remote controlled high-tech device in the meter for which a total penalty of Rs. 3.7 crore was imposed on them. He said that several professional gangs behind the theft were nabbed for these offences.

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