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Whistleblowers help nab power thieves

business Updated: Dec 29, 2007 22:57 IST

Stealing power is no longer easy in Haryana. A theft informer scheme introduced earlier this year by a power distribution agency is leading to a spurt in information about theft.

The agency has earned Rs 21 million as penalty and the whistleblowers have become richer by over Rs 555,000.

After the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) introduced the scheme, over 6,400 whistleblowers have shared information about power theft in their neighbourhood, DHBVN officials said in Chandigarh on Friday.

The information can be given on the toll free telephone number 1800-1801011 or e-mailed at hookacrook4dhbvn@gmail.com or hookacrook4dhbvn@yahoo.com.

The name of the whistleblower is kept secret and the person is given a secret code number and a unique complaint number to claim his reward.

Field units of the distribution agency confirmed 1,094 cases of electricity theft and realised penalties to the tune of Rs 21 million from errant consumers, a DHBVN spokesman said.

For information given to the agency, 176 whistleblowers whose information was found correct were given cash prizes.

The DHBVN assures a minimum reward of Rs 1,000 and a maximum of Rs 50,000 to any person who gives information on power theft. The reward depends on the penalty realised from the person stealing power.

In recent years, Haryana has initiated a number of steps to curb power theft.

It had announced an amnesty scheme in June 2005 for over 1.3 million defaulting consumers who had failed to pay their electricity bills and arrears for over a decade.

The government announced a waiver of Rs 17 billion of arrears for such consumers provided they started paying bills after the scheme was announced.

Nearly one million consumers opted for the scheme. The remaining 300,000 faced permanent disconnection of electricity supply.