power theft

Power theft and Oil theft: Double whammy for Delhi DISCOMs.

Discoms are crippled with Power theft at one side and Misuse at other. About 4-5% of electricity in Delhi is lost by way of Power Theft.Now Discoms lose at least 150- 200 litres of oil per day by anti-socials who take away oil from the transformers severely damaging it, besides causing power outages and can also lead to a fire hazard.

The Delhi Power Sector experiences 4.87% losses due to Power theft approximately and its impact per consumer would be about Rs.2331 per year[i]. This amount is passed on to consumers who pay electricity charges regularly. Power theft leads to draining revenue of utilities by reduced electricity charges and that of Government due to less quantum of ‘electricity duty’. The approximate annual loss to Delhi power utilities would be 11650 Million INR. Public of Delhi are aware about the criminal nature of power theft, but by and large not prepared to report to authorities and majority believe that it cannot be controlled and there is no uniformity in opinion. These make them lethargic and observe failure of media in creating awareness against power theft and hence their perception about power theft remains unchanged.

The public of Delhi are yet to understand the impact of power theft, though they do not consider it as a harmless activity and differ that media helps to control power theft. The Delhi media do not highlight Power theft with the importance it deserves and are ignorant about the issues of power theft both qualitatively and quantitatively. The population defy that media create a favorable atmosphere against power theft and apathetic towards the issue. Visual media at national capital has not been projecting the issue of stealing electricity and its impact on social life of citizen the way it deserves. Research activities of visual media focus round Big news or news hour program. Even though, crime stories do appear in television frequently, the silent crime of Power theft that eats away a major chunk of economy gets side-lined.

The issue of Power theft is not a pressing agenda of Delhi media resulting poor coverage of the topic and thereby fails to create awareness against this crime. This further develops a lethargic attitude towards power theft and the mechanism undertaken by various stakeholders to control loss reduction and Power theft are to be brought under public scanner as few PSUs have already done. The media reports in Delhi are not acting as a change agents or deterrent against power theft despite public getting exposed to the issue broadly.

The Delhi media awareness about this crime is amateur, and has occasionally assigned it a white collar status with glorification of crime. People generally want to have Government services and facilities free of cost and ready to grease hands of officials for availing it and corruption starts. The media swings towards a white collar status and hence a more focused study is required to find the support if any, from the sector itself that flourishes corruption in Power theft related issues. Future researchers can concentrate on this issue.

The power utilities of Delhi/Govt have not exposed the menace of Power theft through advertisements, media discussion etc. whereas other social issues do get their share.   In order to reduce Power theft in Delhi, the Discoms should adopt for ‘name and shame’, Maharashtra model of ‘feeder loss monitoring’ and punishing consumers with ‘total blackout of Distribution transformer’, franchisee system for worst affected area etc.

It is reported that that oil, amounting to around 88,000 litres, has been stolen from over 120 transformers in BSES areas in the last 18 months, causing trouble to the consumers along with financial loss to the company. Removing oil from the transformer has the potential of severely damaging it, besides causing power outages and can lead to a fire hazard.

Removing oil from the transformer has the potential of severely damaging it, besides causing power outages, it said, adding that leaking oil from a transformer can also lead to a fire hazard.

During the last few months, oil has been stolen from DTs located in Paschim Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, Palam, Mansarovar Park, Rani Jhansi Marg, GTB Enclave, Nand Nagri, Shastri Park etc. thieves are able to steal oil from live transformers, even when they are well locked and fenced by steel wires. It is high time for the Discoms to find a solution to both these issues lest the sector would be irreparably damaged.

[i] [i]  This is the statistics for 2015 based on a study undertaken by the Author.

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