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Chief engineer of the Nashik zone of the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL), B K Janvir, has decided that the only way to deter theft of electricity is to impose punishment on the guilty.
In an interview to TOI, he outlined his plans, which include disconnection of power supply to those defaulting on paying electricity bills.
Which area of Nashik is notorious for power theft?
Ahmednagar district (circle) in Nashik zone has a high number of cases. Losses are particularly high in areas of Karjat, Jammkhed and other parts of the rural Ahmednagar. We find it hard to identify the people responsible. Our flying squads are doing their job, but a lot remains to be done.
What do you plan to overcome this problem?
The menace of theft is growing because many of those responsible are powerful and there is fear to act against them. There is need to ensure that those responsible do not get away scot-free.
We also need to equip our officers with knowledge of the powers they hold and company rules; there are also penal provisions, in case they fail to ensure action.
What action do you propose against wrong doers?
We have proposed strict action against employees and officials who take no action when they find cases of power theft.
If a certain number of cases of theft are reported in a stipulated period, the concerned officer will face action, whether issuing of a memo, calling for explanation, marking the issue in the Career Record, or even suspension, depending on the gravity of the situation.
What about power theft in consumer premises?
We have set a target for every officer, to ensure that he unearths cases of theft. Every month the officer will have to register at least ten power thefts that will stand in a court of law.
We have inputs of the quantity of power going into the area and quantity of power billed.
Quantum of power theft is defined. So every section engineer has to catch at least ten power thefts every month till power theft comes to zero.
How will the thefts be monitored?
We have proposed for the squads that will go into different areas without warning.
Theft will be recorded by the squad, and there will be negative marking on the performance of the officer of that area. The proposal is with the headquarters.
What are the measures being taken for recovery?
It is clear that our line-staff tries to play Good Samaritan and helps consumers who default on bill payment. Firstly, we will bill the consumer for the investment in raw material done one-and-half month prior.
We will ask our line-staff to disconnect power if bills are not paid. Power supply will be restored once the bills are paid.
There will be no case of recovery thereafter from that consumer and so the issue of arrears does not arise. Of the 4,600 line-staff, half will soon be engaged in disconnection drive.
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