NEW DELHI: As part of a crackdown on electricity theft that causes annual losses running into hundreds of crores of rupees, the power distribution companies in Delhi have filed over 5,500 complaints in the last one and half years leading to arrest of more than 2,500 violators.
Over 4,500 FIRs were registered on the basis of the complaints and there have been more than 200 convictions in the same period, discom sources said.
There are three power discoms - BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL), BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) - providing electricity to over six million consumers in Delhi.
"In the last 18 months in Delhi, over 5,500 power theft complaints have been lodged, leading to registration of over 4,500 FIRs. Over 2,500 have been arrested and more than 200 accused convicted," said a power discom source.
Power theft attracts heavy penalty along with the jail term of up to five years.
In August-September this year, the special electricity court of Karkardooma had directed attachment (and sealing) of 21 properties in East Delhi in connection with power theft cases.
Since the privatisation of power distribution in 2002 in Delhi, the discoms have been able to bring down aggregate technical and commercial losses from as high as 55 per cent to 8 per cent currently.
"Still, it is estimated that even now power theft is causing an annual loss of over Rs 400 crore to the Delhi discoms," the discom source said.
There are dozens of localities in North, West, East and Central Delhi, where the losses still range between 25-40 per cent, they said.
The discoms face challenges in curtailing power theft in areas from where incidents of attack on inspection teams have been reported many times.
"The only way to tackle power theft in these chronic and hostile areas is the support of dedicated law enforcement agencies. Earlier, for about two years (2007-2009), each of the three Delhi discoms had one battalion of CISF available with them. This helped them to crack down on power theft even in hostile areas," the discom source said.
According to the sources, creation of dedicated police stations for power theft, such as in Gujarat and West Bengal, will help preventing the losses.
Unauthorized use of electricity is a cognizable offence, under the provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003.
Setting up of special courts, under the Electricity Act 2003 for speedy trial of electricity theft cases also helps in creating an effective deterrent to it.