drone shock for city power theft ring

Drones to control Power theft in Delhi.

ata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) that caters to 70 lakh customers has begun flying nano drones to catch culprits and also to monitor transmission and distribution networks to detect faults and fix supply disruption.
Some of the hotspots where 25-40 per cent of electricity is being stolen are: Najafgarh, Jaffarpur Kalan, Mundka, Karawal Nagar, Seelampur, Mandawali, Chandni Mahal, Nand Nagari, Yamuna Vihar, Daryaganj, Dallupura, Khichripur, Shastri Park, Baljeet Nagar, Sabhapur, Burari, Jahangirpuri, Wazirabad and Shaheen Bagh.

The internationally acclaimed documentary film, Katiyabaaz, portrayed riveting cat-and-mouse games between a government officer and a fixer of katiyas (wires illegally attached to transmission lines to steal and sell electricity in an organised manner) in UP’s Kanpur.

Authorities in Delhi are also now hot on the trail of rackets and individuals as illegal connections have been sparking massive revenue losses and crippling power shortages.But the National Capital’s katiyabaaz, seen biting off wires and attaching them to electricity poles in every nook and corner, might be facing a much tougher battle.

Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) that caters to 70 lakh customers has begun flying nano drones to catch culprits and also to monitor transmission and distribution networks to detect faults and fix supply disruptions.TPDDL suffered a loss of Rs 150 crore due to power theft in some pockets of its distribution area last year. Its CEO Sanjay Banga said drones are being used for the maintenance of power lines, poles and towers to provide better service to customers.

“Drone usage will provide faster, better and more accurate service resolutions,” he said. These drones weigh less than 2 kg and fly below 200 feet, with permission from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Delhi Police.“We’re exploring, and developing, the pilot’s extension across the power distribution sector. Usage of drones will also give better insights for future projects,” Banga said.

The discom used nano drones in two pilot projects at Ashok Vihar and Ranibagh in April-May last year to study their viability for surveillance of grids, sub-transmission lines network and grid equipment.

Usage of drones helps in close-up, detailed imagery of installations, scanning potential defects for maintenance personnel. Drones can also capture tower and pole images from various angles, giving a fuller picture, which is often not possible with other inspection methods.The process will enhance the capturing of more credible data which can in turn help in making better decisions while minimising the downtime during maintenance and any contingencies.

Two other power distribution companies –BYPL and BRPL — of BSES are also thinking on similar lines.BSES sources said that the discom has been exploring and deploying latest and suitable technologies and innovations in its various areas of operations, including those against power theft.

BSES has finalised a programme to use drones for asset mapping and network monitoring through thermo scanning, they said. “A large part of BSES’ area comes under the no-flying zone. Because of this, using drones for controlling power theft has limited use in its area. Having said that, the discom is actively considering the possibility of deploying drones to control power theft in areas which are not under the no flying zone,” sources said.

BSES also continues its crackdown on power theft through lok adalats.The last over 22 special lok adalats, organised in association with Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) have resolved over 37,000 cases.

A BIG MENACE

In the last one decade, 10,000 people have been arrested and 1,200 convicted for stealing electricity in Delhi. “About 9 per cent of Delhi’s electricity worth Rs 400 crore is lost to theft. The percentage was 60 per cent when private discoms came into picture in the early 1990s,” said an official.

Some of the hotspots where 25-40 per cent of electricity is being stolen are: Najafgarh, Jaffarpur Kalan, Mundka, Karawal Nagar, Seelampur, Mandawali, Chandni Mahal, Nand Nagari, Yamuna Vihar, Daryaganj, Dallupura, Khichripur, Shastri Park, Baljeet Nagar, Sabhapur, Burari, Jahangirpuri, Wazirabad and Shaheen Bagh.Power theft is punishable with a fine or a jail term (of upto five years) or both. Officials said efforts of discom teams to check thefts are often thwarted by locals through gheraos.[Courtesy: Ankit YadavGulam Jeelani,India today]

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