WITH AN aim to crack down on power theft and thereby reduce aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses, the Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited (PGVCL) has checked more than 1.43 lakh power connections and detected power theft worth Rs 35.08 crore crore over the past two months.
Vigilance squads of the Rajkot-headquartered PGVCL intensified their checking drive from October onward and continued it through November, company officials said.
According to data accessed by The Indian Express, the company checked a total of 91,219 power connections in October and detected power theft worth Rs 19.85 crore in 11,640 of them, the data show.
Similarly, vigilance squads checked total 51,921 power connections between November 1 and November 25 and detected 6,308 cases of power theft. The company assessed the power theft to the tune of Rs 15.23 crore by the 6,308 customers.
PGVCL, the state government-owned company which distributes power in 12 districts of Saurashtra-Kutch regions as well some areas of north Gujarat region, provides total 56.11 lakh power connections. Of them, 37.64 lakh (67 per cent) are residential power connections, 10.70 lakh (19 per cent) agricultural, 7.18 lakh (12.79 per cent) commercial and industrial, 18,152 (0.32 per cent) waterworks and 39,981 for general lighting purpose and others. The company distributes 5300 megawatt power daily through its 4323 feeders.
The intensification of the vigilance activities coincides with a dip in power availability in October, forcing the company to stop supplying day-time power under the Kisan Suryodaya Yojana (KSY) launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year to supply electricity to farmers during daytime.
Varunkumar Baranwal, managing director (MD) of the PGVCL told The Indian Express, “Because of the poor monsoon, there was a very high drawal in agriculture sector. Agriculture sector is generally a very high-loss sector. Equally, the government took a decision to give power for 10 hours in AG (agricultural) feeders instead of the (routine) eight hours. This resulted in additional loss for us. Due to these reasons, the loss percentage of our company had gone up. We had to compensate it somehow — by finding theft, by finding missing units everywhere,”
The MD said that transmission and distribution losses of PGVCL stood at 20 per cent and commercial losses at three per cent as of September. Thus, AT&C losses were more than 23 per cent. “So, last month, we were averaging around Rs1 crore per day (in detecting power theft) and in October also, we averaged around that– Rs 80-90 lakh per day,” said Baranwal.
He said that the drive was also aimed at creating a deterrence mechanism against such illegal activities. The MD said that the company is planning to make the vigilance activities a data-driven exercise. “So, areas where our loss percentage is very high, we will be doing these surprise checking in those areas,” he said.
However, Baranwal said that power availability has improved as compared to October. “There is no shortage per say. The situation which was there towards the end of October last for about 10 days. That was the limit of it and after that the situation has returned to normal,” the MD said.
However, PGVCL was forced to stop supplying power to farmers during daytime in the last week of October to manage power demand and keep the power grid steady in view of reduced availability of power. The MD said that farmers covered under the KSY are still getting electricity as per the routine schedule.Internet Explorer Channel Network