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Meter-tampering in Jalandhar costs PSPCL over Rs 15 lakh

The team identified 26 cases of meter reading concealment amounting to the swindling of total arrears of around Rs 15.63 lakh

punjab Updated: Aug 19, 2017 11:43 IST
Harvinder Kaur
Harvinder Kaur
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
Meter-tampering,Jalandhar,PSPCL
The team has identified 26 cases of meter reading concealment amounting to the swindling of total arrears of around Rs 15.63 lakh. (Livemint photo)

The week-long inspection by enforcement wing of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has brought to light the concealment of meter readings at large scale by unauthorised meter readers in Jalandhar Cantonment.

The PSPCL had carried out raids in few residential areas of the Cantonment’s sub urban subdivision after receiving complaints. Over 1,400 electric meters installed in the residential premises were checked.

The team has identified 26 cases of meter reading concealment amounting to the swindling of total arrears of around Rs 15.63 lakh.

Officials informed that the concealment of correct meter reading found, varies from 2,000 units to 20,000 units. It is to be mentioned that the current cost of 20,000 units utilised by the domestic consumers is around Rs 1.5 lakh.

The four residential areas inspected included Deep Nagar, Beant Nagar, Rama Mandi and Old Phagwara Road site. All the domestic connections were in the range of 15-20 kilowatt (KW). During the inspection, many instances of meters being completely destroyed or rendered unreadable, came to fore.

The enforcement department has concluded that the unethical practice is being carried out to benefit certain consumers during the peak summer season when the power consumption is high. An enforcement wing official on the condition of anonymity said, “The practice may be going on a large-scale and more such cases will come to light with further investigation.” It is being assumed that PSPCL has faced a huge revenue loss due to wrong metering and concealment of meter readings.

Officials informed that some of the meters, particular the ones installed on the premises, do not match to those uploaded in the power department system. For instance, the actual meter reading was 44,369 units but 44,433 units as recorded by the meter reader.

During the inspection, officials also identified 21 cases of unauthorised use of electricity and other kinds of power thefts in Jalandhar Cantonment. A total penalty of around ₹26 lakh was imposed by the power department in all such cases.

Role of outsourced meter readers

The inquiry report points out the possibility of involvement of outsourced meters readers. Notably PSPCL had recently terminated a supervisor and an outsourced meters reader,in-charge for above-mentioned Cantonment areas.

First information report (FIR) was registered against one Navdeep Singh, a meter reader at anti power theft police station in the matter last week. Deputy chief engineer from Jalandhar enforcement, Arvinder Singh said, “We will conduct checks at all those places from where we have been receiving such complaints.”

Outsourced firm summoned

Sources informed that the representatives of Hyderabad-based Cosyn Tech Energy from where the PSPCL had outsourced meter readers were recently called by chairman-cum-managing director A Venu Prasad to discuss the discrepancies found in the working of outsourced meters leading to revenue loss.

First Published: Aug 19, 2017 11:40 IST