Stepped-up vigil by ‘power sleuths’ of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) is raking in results. In June alone, state-wide raids by Anti-Power Theft Squads (APTS) revealed thefts to the tune of `3.33 crore.
“We are monitoring the scenario closely with daily lightning inspections, informants and training for the KSEB engineers in the legal aspects,” said N Ramachandran, Chief Vigilance Officer, KSEB.
In the past one year, the APT squads carried out as many as 224 inspections in Palakkad district’s Kanjikkode industrial region alone, where one high-tension consumer was even found operating a small power plant on the sly. On Thursday, the matter came up before the Assembly also and Power Minister Aryadan Mohammed said that raids in Kanjikkode revealed power thefts to the tune of `1.60 crore. In all, 4,57,547 units of electricity were siphoned off here.
One company here, named Pyarelal Foams, had drawn an illegal LT underground cable to another High Tension company, Aditya Fabrics. Here, an unauthorised 384.56 kw power plant was also found.
“It is believed that the said company has been carrying on in this manner for the past one year,” the Minister said in a written reply. The KSEB slapped a fine of `1.40 crore on the consumer, he said.
The consumer has filed a counter against the fine, and a hearing is scheduled to be held soon.
Four other units in Kanjikkode were also booked for illegal consumption; Premier Gases, Bristo Foods, ABR Modern Rice Mill and Citadel Hydraulics and Electricals. That same week, APTS detected power theft to the tune of `20.58 lakh in the Malabar region, `6.50 lakh in the Thrissur-Ernakulam region and `24.50 lakh from Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kottayam.
Raids in Thiruvananthapuram on June 19 had revealed power theft by a commercial consumer worth `1.27 lakh and in a separate case, a domestic consumer was slapped with a fine of `74,500.
In 2011, the APTS had detected thefts to the tune of `17 crore. Much of the power theft occurs in the LT category, especially in the commercial sector.
“Theft of electricity in the domestic category is negligible compared to the big sharks in hotel, tourism and industry,” he said.