In addition to power cuts, now power thefts are troubling the Eastern Power Distribution Company of AP (EPDCL). The company is already drawing flak for imposing long hours of power cuts and hiking power tariffs. The coastal discom is now facing the rising incidents of power thefts.
Though EPDCL is considered among the best discoms in the country for having curtailed its distribution losses to less than 5 per cent, the power distribution company saw power thefts to the tune of 120 lakh units in the period from April 2012 to February 2013. According to officials of the detection and pilferage of energy (DPE) department of EPDCL, nearly 120 lakh units of power was illegally drawn by 12,365 consumers in the five coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East and West Godavari under EPDCL limits.
All possible measures are being taken to check the menace under the discom's limits, but reports show that the number of thefts has been rising with each passing year. EPDCL has slapped a fine of Rs 70 crore on consumers indulging in power pilferage over the last three years but has been able recover only about 50 per cent of the fine amount so far.
While 27,183 power consumers of different categories varying from domestic to industries were inspected in 2010-11 and cases were booked against 8,787 power offenders, a total of 50,726 service connections were raided in 2011-12 and cases were booked against 11,857 offenders.