Published On : Wed, Jun 15th, 2016

Power theft menace causes breakdowns, sparks unrest in many areas

Power Theft
The unscrupulous consumers indulging power thefts are causing a number of ‘breakdowns’ in the DF area which in turn affected supply in several localities catered to by SNDL. The power outages also triggered unrest among people leading to unwanted situations. Even the SNDL teams acted swiftly to repair the breakdowns, it took hours of efforts to restore the normal supply. Taking the frequent power outages seriously, the SNDL teams found that that it is rampant theft especially through hooking of service wires which has not only caused substantial rise in losses and impacted public exchequer negatively, but also has been the major reason for unexpected load on entire network thus causing infrequent yet severe breakdowns. With the disturbing findings, the SNDL promptly initiated massive drive against people indulging in power thefts and decided to crackdown on such unscrupulous consumers. The drive in the past one week yielded results with more than 50 hooks being removed every day.

Certain pockets of Nagpur where incidents of power thefts were reported include Sweeper Colony, Hasanbagh, Binaki, Wathoda Ghat, Tajbagh, Kamgar Nagar, Sanjeevni Quarters, and Bhim Chowk to name just a few. The per capita consumption here may apparently be low as compared to other up-market areas, but the vast spread and large residential base in these colonies adds up to a considerably high amount of loss units. In backdrop of weak socio-economic status, the residents here resort to illegal means of receiving power supply such as hooking on the service wire or tampering / bypassing the meter. This trend has now set in over the years and has become a malpractice where even the defaulters are unaware about the damage caused to government coffers and the hazard to lives as well.

The phenomenon of power thefts goes up especially during summers when the requirement of cooling units is higher. All of this results in continuous unaccounted load on entire network starting from nearest pole up to the sub-station and ultimately causing power failure. Over and above, the increasing losses across the state have further added woes to lives of sincere consumers as indirectly they bear the impact of these losses in the form of tariff hike by governing bodies. Many previous efforts by the government and distribution companies to educate the users of these areas to use only legitimate power supply has yielded minimal results due to lenient laws.

While the paying consumers term these power failures as ‘load shedding’, the SNDL has asserted that there is no ‘load shedding’ in DF area. It is rather the impact of this ‘hidden or unknown’ load caused by power thefts which is plaguing the supply where even an upgraded infrastructure reaches optimum level and then ‘breaks down’ due to overload. This scenario has also caused huge loss of manpower, which could have been utilized for betterment of infrastructure rather than restoration.

Recovered hooks after removal
The current drive has saw more than 10 teams of SNDL across various zones patrolling during odd hours to curb hooking and other modes of power thefts. It is pertinent to mention that the DF area is currently reeling under losses of more than 29.4 MU (million units) per month which in financial terms means losses of more than Rs 22.1 crore a month. Reinforcing its commitment of reducing losses, SNDL termed power-thefts as a menace of anti-social elements. Subsequently, the power thefts cause outages and sparks unrest in society where the sincere consumers feel cheated if strict action is not initiated against the defaulters.

Hook removal squad
On the other hand, SNDL has also expressed deep concern over growing number of accidents and personal losses caused to people engaged in power thefts. One such recent incident happened with one Manoj Deshbhratar, a resident of Bhim Chowk (Awasthi Nagar), where his own daughter (Manasvi, aged 7) suffered a massive shock from the hooked wire. Many such incidents in recent past have prompted the franchisee to appeal the citizens to refrain from power thefts and ensure safety of their loved ones. SNDL has further appealed to alert citizens to inform of such cases of theft on its toll-free number 1800-313-9600 and make Nagpur a ‘power theft-free’ city.

– Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha ( )