UPPCL launches midnight drive against power theft in Lucknow
The UP Power Corporation Ltd has launched a crackdown on power theft, focusing on 65 divisions where aggregate technical and commercial losses are over 40%.lucknow Updated: May 21, 2018 13:38 IST
The UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) has launched a crackdown on power theft, focusing on 65 divisions where aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses are over 40%.
The squads had been asked to strike after midnight when people hook on to katiyas (illegal connections), shifting major power load onto the same with the meter recording only minimum consumption of lighting, people familiar with the matter said.
The Lucknow Electricity Supply Administration teams conducted raids in several localities of the state capital after midnight on Saturday, removing illegal connections.
“A lot of consumers, especially in villages, use katiyas only for lighting too as they do not have a formal electricity connection at all,” those privy to the development said.
The move comes at a time when the corporation is gearing up to provide 24X7 electricity from April next year.
High AT&C losses, often loosely referred to as line losses, are being considered a major challenge to the 24x7 power supply plans.
The losses are currently 27.76%, almost double the target of 15% and more than the national average of 20.15%.
“The crackdown in the high-losses areas is paying dividends with the checking squads catching many consumers running air-conditioners and coolers through katiyas, bypassing the meter in smaller towns and even in villages,” Agra distribution company (discom) managing director SK Verma said.
The Agra discom has the highest number of electricity divisions with high AT&C losses. Of the 67 high-loss divisions identified by Union power ministry as well as the UPPCL, 25 are in the Agra discom alone. Meerut, Lucknow and Varanasi discoms have 14, nine and 15 such divisions, respectively. Kanpur Electricity Supply Company (KESCo) has two.
Verma said anyone who ran one air-conditioner for 10 hours a day will receive a bill for 300 units a month for that only, apart from units consumed by other gadgets.
“We are catching consumers who use ACs or other heavy gadgets but their bills are very low,” he said.
Many of the 65 high-loss divisions are said to have unusually high energy consumption without the same recorded by meters on the consumers’ premises.
A letter written to all discom MDs by principal secretary, energy, and UPPCL chairman Alok Kumar said 65 electricity divisions had been identified where the losses were above 40% or had a higher energy consumption vis-à-vis consumption recorded by consumers’ meters.
“You are supposed to personally monitor the drive against power theft in the identified divisions so that the AT&C losses there could be brought down to 25% by next year,” he said.
The UPPCL has identified 84 katiya connections across the state and now removing all of them poses a challenge for the discoms.
UP Rajya Vidyut Upbhokta Parishad president Avadhesh Kumar Verma has, however, raised questions over the continuing midnight drive against power theft.
“We support the drive, but at the same time we demand the UPPCL to honour the law that says no squad will enter any house before and after sunset unless a male member is present in the house,” he said.