In 2014, Delhi had faced 117 million units of power cuts. Fast forward to 2018, Delhi faced just 17.8 million units of cuts, 85% lower than in 2014

Power Theft:All-time low in Delhi Discoms ,claims Arvind Kejriwal

The photo along with report gives an impression to the readers that they too can become leaders by practising criminal activities says Admin

In early February 2014, Delhi was on the verge of a blackout. I had just become the chief minister and electricity distribution companies (discoms) had threatened to push more than half of the city into darkness, citing inability to pay for the purchase of power. This was after five years of continuous hikes in power tariffs, which had already made Delhi’s power unaffordable. Despite the extreme tariff hikes, discoms were claiming to be short on cash. The blackout could only have been stopped, they said, if the government bailed out companies. Discoms had extracted ₹5000 million from the Delhi government in 2011 under similar circumstances. Not only did we refuse to give in to these demands, we also pushed harder for a Comptroller and Auditor General audit of their accounts.

What we inherited in February 2015 was a system plagued by years of corruption, incentivised inefficiency and large-scale over-reporting of losses. Delhi’s discoms reported regulatory assets (dues owed by the people of Delhi to the discoms) of ₹11,4060 Million the year we were elected. This figure had served as the basis of steep tariff hikes year after year. Today, the regulatory assets for these discoms have reduced to ₹8,4000 Million For the first time, discoms are no longer short on cash. In the same period, Delhi’s power bills are down to being the lowest in the country. It’s a win for the people and a win for the power sector. It’s also a win for the government, which is no longer under threat of erratic bailout demands. What has been achieved over five years has been nothing short of a miracle.As much as it has been a result of sheer political will and zero tolerance to corruption, it has also been a result of smart economics, and an unprecedented investment in the power infrastructure of the city. The biggest impact of these reforms has been on the consistency of power supply, with most parts of the city receiving 24 hours uninterrupted electricity, even as peak power demand this summer was the highest in Delhi’s history — at 7,400 MW, compared to 5,925 MW in the summer of 2014.

In 2014, Delhi faced 117 million units of power cuts. Generator sets and inverters were common household appliances. In large parts of the city, summer nights were a living hell due to repeated faults and load shedding. Fast forward to 2018: Delhi faced just 17.8 million units of cuts, 85% lower than in 2014. The biggest contributor towards ensuring consistent power supply has been the 16-17% augmentation in transformer capacity. Relentless pressure from our Members of Legislative Assembly, and expedited allocation of land for transformer augmentation, facilitated the largest expansion in capacity in the history of the city.

Electricity theft is also at an all-time low, and the lowest in the country. BSES Rajdhani, for instance, has seen Average Transmission and Collection (AT&C) losses have been brought down from 17% in 2013 to 8% today. This is because Delhi’s cheap power supply incentivised the mainstreaming of small consumers, who rapidly joined the growing mass of metered consumers. The number of connections has gone up by approximately 20% in the last five years, contributing to further improving the financial health of discoms.When privatisation of utilities was carried out across the country, each state followed one of the two trajectories. One, improved efficiency, followed by exorbitant tariffs. Two, artificially low tariffs that led to crumbling infrastructure and poor service. The dramatic turnaround of the power sector in Delhi presents to the country a unique model in the supply of basic utilities, one that is both pro-people and pro-industry. Delhi has the lowest tariffs, supplies uninterrupted and reliable electricity, and at the same time, discoms are turning a profit.

On the back of these path-breaking reforms in the power sector, our government announced a Lifeline Electricity scheme under which all Delhi households consuming 200 or less units of power will get a zero bill. Between 201 to 400 units, consumers will get a substantial subsidy upwards of 50%.Lifeline electricity is in line with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s philosophy that providing for a dignified life is the core duty of government. Every government must provide basic services like education, health care, water, power and transport to every citizen regardless of their ability to pay for them. Every household needs lights, fans, one fridge, cooler in the summer, geyser in the winter to survive. By ensuring free supply of electricity for this level of usage, the government is guaranteeing access to a bare minimum quality of life.

Five years ago, we provided lifeline water for free to all households. Counterintuitively, free water up to 20,000 litres per month led to the conservation of water each day, because households worked towards limiting usage to come under the free bracket. It increased revenues too as a large number of people opted for meters. We can expect to see similar results of the free electricity scheme as well.The AAP government’s sound financial management, and honest governance, has led to a doubling of government revenue through indirect taxes in just five years. These additional funds are the direct consequence of the people electing an honest government in 2015. We want to invest this money right back into the people. And on the back of strong power sector reforms over the past five years, Delhi is in a position to do just that.[Courtesy: Arvind Kejriwal ,Hindustan Times]

Comments of Admin

Hindustan Times published four photographs in 2012 of which one is a library image, showing Arvind Kejriwal restoring electricity at a premise where electric connection had been disconnected by power utility on account of performing Power Theft and unauthorized use. This image has penetrated into the mind of media so deeply that they cannot think of another image when thinking about the power sector in general and Power theft in particular. Hindustan Times published two photograph of e-rickshaw drawing power clandestinely. This is a good attempt and the photo (Courtesy: Arun Sharma) fits suitable to the content and description of the text. The photographer deserves accolades for covering the image so closely that readers could easily understand the modus operandi. Surprisingly, no other paper carried the photo, though there was mentioning of the incident. The report clearly shows how battery-operated vehicles in the capital city resort to power theft during night.

Hindustan Times [HT] earlier published a story under a caption “shocking via, haphazard, illegal construction and civic apathy’’ which depicted the unsafe ambience of city dwelling place quoting various fatal incidents in the past. The report suggests that in unauthorized colonies, chances of theft by direct drawing cannot be ruled out, and   stress the need for more awareness against Power theft, safety and related impact.

            On perusal of stories relate to on power theft and critically analyzing the photos published along with it, it can be seen that none of the reports creates any message or awareness against Power theft. The Times of India [ToI] also carried a photograph which even do no find anything against power theft. Though the write up was about the High Court of Delhi staying 50% waiver on pending electricity bills, the photograph published was that of a political leader restoring electricity in a premise where supply had been disconnected due to unauthorized usage. This gives an impression to the readers that they too can become leaders by practising criminal activities.This is an indirect way of abetting a crime and the report was one sided and silent about various provisions under the Electricity Act 2003. Inclusion of photograph, illustrations, cartoons, graphics etc, would have made the Paper more readable and attractive. None of the newspapers understudy during the above period have published photos of power theft doers and their lifestyle, photos of convicts of Power theft etc. Had these been included, a message regarding civic conscience and a caution in general would have been disseminated.

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