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Govt plans smart meters to check power theft

Govt plans to introduce GIS mapping, smart meters and separate feeders for farmers across the country to check pilferage.

india Updated: May 03, 2006 16:39 IST

The government is planning to introduce GIS mapping, smart meters and separate feeders for farmers across the country to check pilferage and aggregate technical and commercial losses of power.

The 11th Plan Approach Paper, which in a nutshell gives some broad inputs for the plan document, speaks of replicating the Gujarat example and introducing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping for the entire country to specifically know the flow of electricity, a Planning Commission official said.

AT&C losses are to the tune of at least Rs 30,000 crore per year. Actual losses could even be higher, the official said, while highlighting the worsening power situation.

"In some cities of Gujarat through GIS mapping they have been able to track which customer is connected to which pole. This can be replicated in other places and we will know exactly where the power is flowing," the official said.

Referring to the power theft menace, he said: "We have to arrest pilferage and make the state electricity boards financially viable. The power situation has worsened instead of improving.

"Despite having 100 per cent metering under the APDRP scheme we do not know how much power is being consumed and how much is being stolen."

Though an expensive option, the official said the government would have to install smart metres, which has already been done in places abroad for automatic metering to trace flow and quantity of power.

"Farmers are averse to the idea of meters. Most of the power theft is done by industries and commercial establishments and they blame it on farm sector which is just an excuse. The solution to this is giving separate feeders to farmers," he said.

This would help rationing of power so that supply is restricted to only about eight hours and that would also mean improved flow at peak hours. This would reduce subsidy burden of state governments by arresting pilferage and transmission and distribution losses of state utilities.

The official said these suggestions have been accepted by the Power Ministry and the two were now working on the finer details so that these can be implemented during the 11th Plan period of 2007-12.

The government plans to install additional generation capacity of more than 60,000 MW during the 11th plan to achieve its target of providing electricity to all by 2012. This would require an investment of over Rs 250,000 crore in generation, besides an equal amount in transmission and distribution. Further, the power sector would require an estimated Rs 200,000 crore to cover the commercial losses.

First Published: May 03, 2006 14:22 IST