Thieves run riot in Gurugram, stealing 20% of the electricity daily in summer

50% of the power theft is reported from 74 feeders that supply power to areas such as New Palam Vihar, Jahajgarh, Daulatabad, Nathupur, Ammunition Depot and nearby areas.

Nearly 20% of the power that Gurugram gets is either stolen or lost in transmission. This far higher than the state average of 12%. It is one of the biggest reasons why the Millennium City faces average power cuts of 6-7 hours during summer despite having no yawning gap between the supply and demand.

It is estimated that 150MW of the 1,690 MW supplied to Gurugram gets stolen every day during peak summer.

Another shocking piece of statistic is that of the 1,000 feeder power stations in the city, 50% of the power theft is reported from 74 feeders. These supply power to areas such as New Palam Vihar, Jahajgarh, Daulatabad, Nathupur, Ammunition Depot and nearby areas. Besides that, another 466 feeders record a loss of between 20% and 50% of the power sent to them.

However, despite knowing the cause and areas responsible for the problem, the authorities have failed to plug the leak. Besides theft, power is also lost because of poor infrastructure. Transformers, power lines and feeders stations often crumble under the load since the power discom, DHBVN, has no assessment of the load requirement of different areas.

The DHBVN said that there are gangs that indulge in meter tampering. Officials said it’s an organised industry in areas where people get their meters tampered to steal money from the power discom.

Sanjiv Chopra, chief engineer DHBVN, said, “We have got information about some of these such gangs and our vigilance teams nab them from time to time. But the real challenge is to create awareness among the consumers about how it is not only dangerous for them but also affect others in the city. We must stop such consumers from adopting illegal means, which is not only a legal offence punishable under the Electricity Act, but which also bnring disrepute to them and their family.”

Besides tampering with the electricity meter, offenders in various villages, slums and in unauthorized colonies get illegal connections without a meter or ensure that the meter reading is never correct, causing loss to the government, said officials.

Vimal Yadav, former mayor, said, “DHBVN officials are aware of the places which are prone to theft but they are not willing to act. If power theft is checked, it would help immensely improve electricity supply. It is a big hole in distribution and the government should resolve it at the earliest.”

The Gurugram police have registered about 700 FIRs on complaints by DHBVN in May this year alone for power theft.The discom had registered 2,450 police complaints of theft between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017 and 3,700 complaints between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018.

“The government should fix this leak to improve electricity supply and minimise the gap between demand and supply,” said Ashok Kohli, president of Chamber of Industries, Udyog Vihar, adding that the commercial, industrial and domestic consumers suffer not only because of power theft but also technical faults.

“We are not dependent fully on DHBVN for 24×7 power supply, I am sure all the commercial and industrial establishments are more or less 50% dependent on the diesel gensets. You cannot trust the government for uninterrupted power supply,” said Raj Singla, an industrialist.

DHBVN formed 22 teams in April 2017 to study power theft at each feeder station and to suggest the steps to curb the problem. Many said the measure was just eyewash.

“Survey and teams are just eyewash. DHBVN officials such junior engineers (JEs) and sub divisional engineers (SDEs) are real culprits who have failed to stop theft. They should be held accountable for theft in their respective areas,” said Lokesh Sharma of New Palam Vihar, the area which is worst affected by unchecked power theft.

PK Das, additional chief secretary of the state power department, said, “We are working on many fronts to augment not only our power generation capacity but also to streamline the power distribution in the state. Smart Grid project, which we hope to establish by 2022, will stop all kinds of distribution loss including theft and we are working on it and hope it will complete timely.” The department is laying all power lines underground, apart from bringing in a software to track distribution as part of the smart grid project.{Hindustan Times] (Pic courtesy:Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)

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