Power crisis: Try checking wastage and theft?
THE PREVAILING unprecedented power crisis in the State is more a problem of inefficiency and wastage than of shortage. The State, it is believed, can be rid of much of its crisis by controlling the rampant theft and effectively imposing reasonable restrictions on illegal use of electricity.india Updated: May 10, 2006 01:08 IST
THE PREVAILING unprecedented power crisis in the State is more a problem of inefficiency and wastage than of shortage.
The State, it is believed, can be rid of much of its crisis by controlling the rampant theft and effectively imposing reasonable restrictions on illegal use of electricity. “A unit of electricity saved is a unit of electricity generated,” argued a senior power official.The State has failed to add even a single unit of electricity since 1994, arguably for paucity of funds with the demand-supply gap becoming totally unmanageable now. But what is shocking is that it has also failed to take any effective steps to modernise its existing power houses, contain power theft which is so rampant and invoke the laws to restrict power wastage by consumers and municipalities, without any fear of being ever punished.
The data available with the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) reveal that aggregated technical and commercial (ATC) losses are rampant in the State. For example, they are 64 pc, 58 pc and 43 pc in Varanasi, Allahabad and Gorakhpur, respectively. In 20 districts under the Agra discom, ATC losses are as high as 65 pc. In 25 towns under Meerut discom, they are 50-60 pc. According to sources, a large amount of the ACT loses are nothing but power theft. Former UPPCL chairman, Deepak Singhal had gone on record saying that annual losses suffered by the UPPCL on account of power theft were more than Rs 1500 crore.
In fact, UPPCL’s much publicised electronic meters have not been able to check pilferage. They are being tampered with connivance of the staff. The theft is even more rampant in small cities where most of the consumers pay a lump-sum amount to the line men and use as mush electricity as they wish to.
The UPPCL comes out with public appeals every year urging people to save electricity in view of power shortage. One, however, fails to understand why the authorities do not invoke penal provisions under the Electricity Act 2003 to enforce energy saving. The Act provides for imprisonment to those violating the law related to conservation.
Even the Centre has attributed UP’s crisis to its failure to increase plant load factor by modernising its outdated power houses, reduce line losses and control power theft. Union Power Secretary, RV Shahi, had highlighted these points in his letter to the chief secretary.
Speaking at a function in Kanpur on Sunday, the cm admitted to massive power theft in the State. He also said that power employees were conniving in the theft. “Hum poochhna chahate hain adhikarion sei unhonei bijli chori karanei walei kei khilaf kya karvvahi ki,” he asked.