Web Exclusive | February 2018
PM constituency stops power theft with underground cables
In a country that loses a quarter of its electricity to theft, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's parliamentary constituency — Varanasi — has shown a way out by pushing distribution cables underground and deploying technology to track illegal connections. Since work on overhauling the rickety distribution network began a year ago, power losses have dropped from 45% to below 10% in the Old Kashi area of the holy city, while the number of legal connections have jumped nearly 14% and improved the discom's revenue collection. As work on underground cabling and removal of overhead supply lines progressed, consumers find tapping —a common practice in semi-urban India —nearly impossible. Tripping devices in the network have made it easier to detect illegal connections and identify the guilty. This is evident from over 100 FIRs filed for power theft. The Central transmission utility was entrusted with the task of modernizing the rickety distribution network in a 16 Kmsq area under the Centre's Integrated Power Development Scheme.