With the change of the regime in Punjab, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has directed its officials to cut power transmission and distribution losses, especially in the areas of former Akali leaders, which have witnessed maximum losses, or face action.
The HT had carried a report in September 2016, highlighting that the areas under powerful ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders in Punjab were witnessing unbridled power theft and consumers ended up paying for the losses suffered by the state’s electricity distribution company through hefty bills.
Chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) A Venu Prasad has held a meeting of directors over the management information report (MIR), which details theft in the areas, which were mostly represented by the Akali leaders.
Taking up the theft of electricity in Lambi, Bhikhiwind, Patti, Malout, Rampura Phul, Majitha, Batala, Jalalabad, Tarn Taran, Mansa, Maur and other Akali-dominated areas, where PSPCL officials did not have the freedom to check power theft, the CMD has asked officials to ‘either reduce losses in these areas or face consequences.”
The CMD grilled chief engineers of border zone and Bathinda zone, over the losses, and both offices cited ‘political pressure’ for accumulated losses, but the CMD refused to accept it as the main reason the huge losses in these two zones.
The average power distribution loss in Punjab is 15% between 2015 and 2016, but losses were maximum — between 30% to 40% —in the divisions under SAD leaders.
Distribution losses refer to the difference between the amount of energy delivered to the distribution system from the transmission system and the amount of energy customers are billed for.
Former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s constituency, Lambi, reported around 32% loss, while the MIR reveals that former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal’s constituency, Jalalabad, had a 31% distribution loss in 2014-15.
In 2015-16, the distribution losses amounted to nearly Rs 883 crore in about two dozen sub-divisons, represented by the Akalis.
The PSPCL never held a meeting on the MIR in 2015 and 2016. This was deliberately done to save officials posted in these areas from action, said an official.
The CMD said, “The management has taken a holistic view on power transmission and distribution losses, and asked officials to cut losses and bring them in parity with other sub-divisions of the state. If we manage to reduce the losses by 1%, it will save Rs 250 crore. Thus, my focus is to generate maximum revenue by ensuring metered sale. The power theft will not be tolerated in any area of the state.” He said if area officials fail to cut the losses, they will face action. From now onwards, the management will review the losses, he added.