Srinagar, Mar 06 (KNS): Amid resorting to prolong power cuts, the Power Development Department has sought the police assistance to stop power thefts in Kashmir.

There have been severe power cuts since the Durbar (highest seat of governance) shifted to Jammu on October 27.“If people use electricity judiciously and pay as per the consumption then there won’t be power cuts. We are trying to adhere the curtailment schedule as approved by the government,” an official of the Power Department told KNS.As per the power curtailment schedule approved by PDD, the metered areas will be subjected to at least 4-hour power cuts while the non metered areas will face upto 8-hour power cuts.

The official said the department had taken several measures to stop the misuse of electricity in the Valley. “We have formed various teams who are conducting inspections to stop power pilferage. All the departments including police are fully cooperating with the PDD to stop power theft. All those who resort to power pilferage will be heavily fined besides that FIRs will also be lodged where power theft grossly take place. We have also sought the police assistance if there is some resistance from the public in creating hurdles in the works of inspection teams,” the official said.

Earlier, the State Vigilance Commission had asked the PDD to register FIRs in all cases of electricity theft or illegal power connections that come to the fore and monitor the progress of investigation and trial thereof.A senior PDD official told KNS that there was already a provision in the State Electricity Act for strict action against a consumer who resorts to power theft. “But there is only lack of implementation of the Act in the state. The power theft increase during winters even though fine had been imposed against such people in the past. So it has been decided to file cases against those who often resort to power thefts,” the official added.

The increase in power curtailment both in metered and non-metered areas of the Valley has evoked strong public outrage. “Ours is a non-metered area and there are around 14 hour power cuts in a day,” Mohammad Altaf, a resident of Mehjoor Nagar said.Similar complaints are also pouring in from metered areas where there are abrupt power cuts around eight hours in a day. “We witness frequent power cuts from the last few months month. We are bound to get 24 hour electricity supply as per the rules but the PDD often resorts to power cuts of around eight-hours in a day,” Nazir Ahmad, a resident of Lalbazaar said.People said when meters were installed in their areas, the department had promised round-the-clock supply. [(KNS)Northlines]

Now reporting power theft is just a click away with two power distribution companies launching Watsapp numbers for its consumers to send pictures and videos about such incidents.BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) have launched Whatsapp numbers 9555010022 (for South and West Delhi) and 8588892156 (for East and Central Delhi).“Now consumers can shoot videos and photographs of power theft and Whatsapp them along with the location and address to these centralised numbers. Identity of the people reporting  power theft will be kept confidential,” said an official of the BSES.

According to BSES, the service has been primarily targeted at high power theft areas. The areas where power theft continues to be a concern include Najafgargh, Jaffarpur, Mundka, Nangloi, Seelampur, Nand Nagari, Yamuna Vihar, Karawal Nagar and Shaheen Bagh. It is also rampant in some unauthorised colonies.“Centralised teams have been set-up to monitor and take appropriate action on the basis of the photographs and videos received,” it said.”To promote the service, BSES will soon start engaging Residents Welfare Associations.”

Posters are also being put-up by the BSES in high power theft areas, the official said. Consumers will also be educated on how to capture evidence of power theft while shooting videos and photographs, he added.“Power theft has taken a shape of organised crime and it is an opportunity for honest and law abiding citizens of the city to report and help in controlling this menace. Apart from discoms, honest consumers also suffer due to power theft,” said the official.“We want more and more citizens to come forward and actively participate in this campaign to make Delhi a power theft free city.”According to BSES, power theft is not only resulting in substantial revenue loss to the discoms, but is also increasing the number of tripping and local breakdowns manifold.

“Efforts of discom enforcement teams to check the irregularities are thwarted by organised gangs on many occasions. Whenever enforcement teams reach these areas, these gangs gherao the terms and don’t let them check their premises,” the official said.[Deccan Herald]

In India, “transmission losses” due to illegal connections or tampering consume up to 42% of total electricity production. (Source: BBC)

Stealing electricity has been around since shortly after Thomas Edison founded the Edison Electric Light Company in New York City in 1878. In 1886, for example, the Daily Yellowstone Journal reported that “numerous unprincipled persons had availed themselves of the opportunity to steal electricity” from Edison by tapping into the wires upstream of the electrical meter. The superintendent of the electrical company responded by connecting extra electrical dynamos into the system in an attempt to burn out the illicit coils and motors.The problem continues to this day. According to a recent study, global losses from electricity theft in 2015 totaled US$89.3 billion. India led the way ($16.2 billion in losses), followed by Brazil ($10.5 billion) and Russia ($5.1 billion).With the adoption of the Smart Grid and smart meters, though, utilities are introducing new technologies to detect meter tampering and reduce electricity theft.

Common Tampering Methods

Electricity thieves have numerous ways to ply their trade. The simplest approach is to connect into power lines before the electrical meter; thieves can also bypass the meter altogether. More sophisticated schemes aim to reduce the amount of consumption recorded by altering the connections to the meter, or tampering with the operation of the meter itself.External wiring modifications include swapping phase and neutral wires; disconnecting the neutral wire altogether; providing a return path via ground rather than neutral; and disconnecting one of the phase wires from the meter.When it comes to tampering with the meter’s internal operation, a strong magnet is the aspiring evil-doer‘s best friend. Electrical meters use magnetic devices in voltage- and current-measurement circuits, and are susceptible external magnetic fields. Placed next to a meter, a powerful magnet can saturate the sensor magnetic cores and introduce large errors in measurement, or even disable the meter completely by interfering with its power-supply transformer.