Transformer theft

Transformer theft: Indian farmers entrusted with guarding the installation.

‘Janamitra’ to keep watch to prevent stealing transformer and Power theft.
Rural India is crippled with the issues of both rampant Power theft and transformer theft.

The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL), a power distribution company in India is facing a bizarre situation. Hitherto, the utility had been facing the acute menace of Power theft. The recent surprise inspections in Maharashtra detected power theft amounting to stolen electricity worth INR ₹41.12 lakh(USD 56000) by adopting various methods of stealing electricity. MSEDCL has filed criminal case for 488 thefts in Ghansoli town itself in a special drive. Ganeshkar, Vashi and Bhandup are other places put to search. About 3 million units of electricity were stolen by the perpetrators and booked under various sections of the Electricity Act 2003.
Adding insult to injury, the state-owned utility is in a strange situation. About 100 distribution transformers of various capacities have been stolen by gangsters in rural areas this year itself causing a loss of INR 20 million (USD 266478 ). This lost amount will be routinely passed to consumers in the form of escalated power tariffs and one of the reasons for the high tariff in the Indian subcontinent. The recent stealing of the transformer happened during the night-time in October 2021, when MSEDCL switched off the transformer catering to the agricultural areas for maintenance work. Knowing that there would not be power supply at the transformer point and hence safe, the thieves dismantled and sold the transformer for scrap value. The transformer has about 350 Kg Copper, other than oil and the gangsters abandoned other materials in nearby fields. Stealing of transformer is a common issue being faced by the rural Distribution utilities in India over some time.
Now the villagers and farmers have been entrusted with an extra duty to keep a tab on the transformer installation to protect their energy source. Transformer theft does not come under Power theft, but asset theft, which is quite common in African countries.

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