MSEDCL initiates criminal action against 2,237 consumers for power theft, recovers Rs3.42 cr
PUNE: In a major crackdown across the Pune, Satara, Sangli, Solapur and Kolhapur districts, the Maharashtra State Energy Distribution Company (MSEDCL) Pune has initiated criminal action against as many as 2,237 consumers for power theft. The MSEDCL has exposed power theft to the tune of Rs3.42 crore, taken action against the violators under section 135 of the Indian Electricity Act, and managed to recover the said amount.
Action was taken after MSEDCL regional director Ankush Nale ordered a strict clampdown as part of a special mission to curb the rising number of power thefts. Hundreds of MSEDCL engineers and staffers participated in the drive that yielded strong recovery of power theft bills. MSEDCL authorities claimed to have checked 17,037 connections across domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural consumers. A preliminary inquiry revealed theft of 20.66 lakh units of electricity following which the flying squad handed over the bills to the violators and recovered the amount in question. Pune had the highest number of power thefts followed by Satara and Solapur at the second and third spot, respectively.
The MSEDCL authorities pointed out that the modus operandi of the violators included tampering with electricity meters, putting hooks on supply lines, and even bypassing underground cables by tapping the main power supply line. When power theft is detected, the authorised person can immediately disconnect the supply after he/she has sufficient prima-facie evidence, according to MSEDCL officials. In the event of such disconnection, the authority is under obligation to lodge an FIR within 24 hours of disconnecting the power supply. The supply is required to be restored within 48 hours of payment of the amount assessed as liability on account of theft.
Lodging of FIR
After disconnection of supply, it is mandatory to lodge an FIR within 24 hours. When there is no disconnection, it is not mandatory to lodge an FIR immediately. In the meantime, if the person who has committed the theft pays the amount assessed as liability on account of theft and comes forward for compounding of the offence and also pays the compounding charges, it is not necessary to lodge an FIR. However, an intimation to that effect has to be sent to the police station.