What’s common between a manpower training centre, a guest house, a beauty salon, a playschool, a call centre and a boarding school?
For one, they all have been caught allegedly stealing power in upmarket Delhi localities.
A massive clampdown by power companies in south, east and west Delhi colonies in the past few days, has thrown up power theft cases in the most unlikely places. Many “respected members of society”, including a retired army officer have been penalised, too.
In a Lajpat Nagar basement, raid at a manpower training centre revealed that the establishment was using unaccounted for electricity to the tune of 17kw.
A change-over switch was bypassing the meter and
supplying electricity to the premises. “It looked like the work of a professional electrician. They install illegal apparatus to steal electricity but won’t pay for the electricity they use,” said a senior official of discom BSES Rajdhani, which conducted the raids in south and west Delhi.
The owner of the premises, a retired Army officer was slapped a penalty of R3.9 lakh. Using change-over switch to bypass the meter turned out to be a common modus operandi, as a boarding school in Gautam Nagar, not far from Lajpat Nagar, was found allegedly stealing a whopping 36kw of power. In a surprise swoop, the discom fined the owners R8 lakh.
A guesthouse in Nizamuddin was also fined for stealing power in a similar way.
In west Delhi, a playschool and a call centre operating from a house in Rajouri Garden was fined R8.2 lakh for allegedly stealing 36kw of power.
Power companies say that while installing change-over switches to bypass the meter
is an age-old trick used by offenders, these days, certain technologies keep the law enforcers ahead.
“Energy input data from the over 9,000 distribution transformers is being constantly collated and analysed by our teams and thus, power theft locations are narrowed down significantly,” said a BSES official.
“Any suspicious mismatch of energy supplied and energy billed can now be pinned down to the local transformers and the connections concerned.”
However, some old tricks were still found to be in use.
In Uttam Nagar, for instance, a salon and a welding shop were together allegedly stealing power by hooking onto the BSES main line.
At Naveen Shahdara, an injection moulding factory was allegedly found stealing a whopping 50kw of electricity by hooking into the nearby BYPL Mains. A penalty of R16.5 lakh has been imposed on the accused.
All accused have been given time to respond before paying the fine, failing which, cases against them will be filed in Special Courts of Electricity.