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Power thieves face tech onslaught

business Updated: Jul 13, 2008 22:54 IST
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The government is leaning on the prowess of the software industry to reduce last mile losses as energy travels from the substation to end-users and cut theft and pilferage that have long plagued country’s power distribution system.

A committee has been set up Nandan Nilekani, co-Chairman of Infosys Technologies Ltd., to create baseline data by collating quantitative and qualitative information on consumers.

“Base-line data, driven by the appropriate software, would enable authorities to locate the exact point of theft from a remote location,” said an official, who did not wish to be identified.

The base-line data, after completion, will ensure that all the consumers are given a unique electrical address — Consumer Index Number, or CIN, so that it is possible to segregate the consumers feeder-wise or distribution transformer-wise for energy audit and accounting purposes.

The idea is to ensure 100 per cent digital metering for all consumers, necessary to enforce the Electricity (Amendment) Act of 2007 that makes power theft a non-bailable offence.

India has the dubious distinction of being amongst the nations with the highest levels of electricity theft and pilferage losses, often referred to as transmission and distribution losses – 40 per cent or equivalent of Rs 40,000 crore.

The National Association of Software Services Companies, or NASSCOM, has offered to set up the appropriate software system for creating this baseline data. “We would be very keen to work with you on the implementation of the recommendations of the committee for establishment of base line data systems,” Som Mittal, president of the association, said in a recent letter to the power secretary.

The government-appointed Investment Commission, under Ratan Tata, has also made a similar recommendation.