With Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) acting tough, 502 household, commercial and agricultural consumers were caught stealing electricity from April to June. Around Rs 1.5 crore was realised as fine from them.
The corporation has made special investigation squads which conduct checking in its four circles - east, west, suburban and Khanna.
Chief engineer, PSPCL central zone, Ludhiana, Rashpal Singh said, “Electricity theft is a big burden on the corporation. We have observed in the past that because of kundi connections, many times problems of short circuit, overloading or damaging of wires took place, causing inconvenience to consumers as well as the corporation. Now, with the start of this drive, the corporation is seeing good results as many defaulters have been caught and heavy fine has been imposed for violating the norms,” added Singh.
From April 1 to June 30, total 23,000 household and commercial connections were inspected. In this, 484 consumers were caught stealing electricity and Rs 1.27 crore was realised as fine from them. Besides, 492 consumers were found whose consumption load was more and were fined to the tune of Rs 57.33 lakh.
With paddy growing season on the threshold, the PSPCL teams also visited the rural areas to check illegal tubewell connections. From June 10 to 30, the corporation inspected 7,009 agricultural connections, of which 18 consumers were found stealing electricity and Rs 21.61 lakh was realised as fine from them. In the rural areas, inspection teams found that most people were using electricity more than the approved load and thus, 4,591 consumers were fined, and Rs 4.18 crore was under the voluntary disclosure scheme for overloading.
The PSPCL has enforcement wing and operation cell which conduct raid to check electricity theft. These wings fine the consumer who is found stealing electricity, but when consumer does not pay the fine, the case is referred to the anti-power theft police station of the PSPCL, where a legal case is registered.
From January 1 to June 30, total 204 cases under power theft have been registered, said inspector Baljinder Singh. He said compound fine was being levied on the defaulter. “In case a defaulter does not pay here too, then the case is referred to court, which could double or even triple the fine if found guilty, the accused can get imprisonment of up to three years.”
The chief engineer appealed to the public to stop power theft. He said the theft caused a lot of problem not only to the PSPCL but also to consumers as it could lead to short circuit or overloading or any other problem.