UPPCL to lay ABC lines to disallow ‘katia’ connections in 47,099 villages
The UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) is ready with a new plan that aims to make it near impossible for villagers to illegally tap power by hook on ‘katias’ to overhead lines.
The corporation has identified 47,099 villages with a population of 1000 and above for the implementation of the new scheme to reduce line losses.
The move comes after the corporation has electrified all the villages and provided electricity connections to all the willing households under the Centre’s ambitious Saubhagya scheme.
Under the new strategy, the government-owned utility is going to replace all the exiting traditional naked overhead lines with the overhead aerial bundled cables (ABC), which have several insulated phase conductors bundled tightly together, in all the villages with a population of 1,000 and above.
ABC lines do not allow ‘katias’ to be hooked on unlike the traditional uninsulated overhead lines. “We have chalked out a plan to lay ABC lines in all the villages having a population between 1,000 and 5,000 in Uttar Pradesh to not only check power theft due to rampant use of katias but also curb electricity accidents that often happen due to breaking away of weak overhead lines,” UPPCL chairman and principal secretary, energy, Alok Kumar said.
The work would start this month and be completed within next 1-2 years, he said. The corporation, he said, was taking loans of around Rs 10,000 crore from agencies like the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) and the Power Finance Corporation (PFC) to fund this as well as the ongoing feeder separation project.
Under the feeder separation, supply lines of private tube wells and rural domestic consumers are segregated to provide reliable power to both.
The UPPCL on Monday declared that it had saturated the state by electrifying remaining 1.20 lakh hamlets and providing electricity connections to 94 lakh willing households under the Saubhagya scheme announced in October 2017.
People familiar with the matter said there were still several lakh rural households that had not taken valid connections. A large number of such households were continuing to draw electricity through ‘katia’ connections, they said. The UPPCL had identified over 80 lakh ‘katia’ connections being used in villages before implementation of the Saubhagya scheme.
The corporation has planned special camps to be held in villages during the current month to motivate the ‘katia’ users to subscribe to a legal electricity connection, availing the Saubhagya scheme under which power connections along with a kit containing an LED bulb are given free of cost to poor families.
“After the month-long camps are over, we will launch a state-wide drive to identify ‘katia’ users, taking strict action against them,” Kumar warned. The ABCs, he said, would provide the foolproof solution to the ‘katia’ problem as done in cities.