BENGALURU: In the last 12 months, there has been a significant drop in the number of cognisable cases of power theft and misuse, registered in the city by Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd (BESCOM). Within its four police station limits, cognisable cases registered in January 2018 were between 55 and 69. By December 2018, these numbers dropped to a mere six to 10 cases. As for non-cognisable cases, the numbers have remained the same, with only Malleswaram station limits recording an increase.
“Cognisable offences refer to meter tampering and using hooks on the power line to divert electricity. Non-cognisable cases refer to using power supply meant for your home, to businesses as well. This includes using the power meant for residential spaces to electrify paying guest accommodations, small shops, hostels, etc. Several people we found doing this were not even aware that it is an offence. They did not know about different tariffs for domestic and commercial use,” an official said.
Of the `17 crores and 46 lakh penalty levied in Indiranagar, Jayanagara, Malleswaram and Rajajinagara police station limits, the BESCOM vigilance cell recovered `7 crore and 92 lakh last year.One reason for dip in violations according to BESCOM is higher awareness among people who used to unknowingly connect their residential power connections to commercial establishments.
“We give a warning the first time an offence is committed, the next second time we issue a warrant for arrest. Several people would unknowingly connect the power received to their homes, to commercial establishments they own nearby. Due to inspections, mass raids, complaints received on BESCOM Mithra app and our helpline, we have been able to keep a check on violators. We have also educated those unaware, of what constitues theft and misuse of power,” said M Narayana, Superintendent of Police, BESCOM Vigilance
Last year, 20 arrests were made for power theft in Bengaluru alone. On the other hand, the department does admit that it has shortage of officials to conduct inspections and raids. Official sources said a staff of 40 more people will be needed in police stations to increase vigilance.
“The current strength is not sufficient to effectively implement the law. We have been asking the department to increase the strength. Six months ago, we also requested for home guards to assist us. The city is growing in all directions, with new constructions coming up on the outskirts, To keep a check on the possible power theft violations that will take place, we need to have more officials,” he added.