Srinagar, Nov 22: In a move to curb power theft and illegal hooking, the Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL) has ramped up night patrolling and inspections across all 10 districts of Kashmir Division. The surge in incidents of massive hooking and power theft has been causing outages and damage to Distribution Transformers, prompting the corporation to issue stern warnings of legal action against offenders.
The KPDCL highlighted a concerning rise in hooking incidents in metered areas with bare conductors over the last month. Additionally, consumers in non-metered areas were found consuming energy three to four times their agreed load, placing substantial strain on the power curtailment schedule and leading to frequent Distribution Transformer (DT) damages and low voltage conditions.
Giving details in a statement released today, an official spokesperson stated that extensive inspection drives have been conducted by KPDCL in the first seven months of the current financial year. “53,016 inspections have been conducted till October 31 this year, which includes 2370 by the Central Squad targeting high-end commercial and industrial consumers,” he said, adding that a penalty of Rs.12.68 crore has been imposed for unauthorized power use in terms of Section 126 of the Electricity Act.
The spokesperson further stated that special teams have been constituted across all 6 Circles of KPDCL for late night inspections to book those resorting to illegal hooking and using crude heating gadgets including banned nichrome-based, in a bid to reduce soaring energy demand in winter.
On a tip off through social media, inspection teams from Electric Division II, Srinagar, conducted surprise inspections in Ikhrajpora, KP Bagh and Sadaat Colony areas of ESD Chanapora and booked many offenders for illegal hooking. Fines in terms of Section 126 of the Electricity Act for unauthorised use of power have been imposed on such consumers.
The KPDCL spokesperson also attributed damage to Distribution Transformers (DTs), LT AB cables and Distribution Boxes to illegal hooking by consumers and use of crude heating gadgets. He said that 64 DTs were damaged on Tuesday alone, a direct outcome of heavy loading of the electric transformers, over and above their approved capacity. “While 64 DTs were reported damaged on November 21, 67 DTs were also repaired and replaced by Central Workshop at Pampore and Workshops across all 19 Electric Divisions in Kashmir Valley, he added.
KPDCL assured the consumers that all DTs are serviced and maintained to provide smooth power supply, provided they are not overloaded due to power pilferage and illegal hooking.
The spokesman further assured the registered consumers of improvement in power situation if they use power judiciously as per agreed load, especially during peak time, in the mornings and evenings. “Cases of power theft increase in winter months, which leads to severe overloading of the distribution system at certain places, resulting in unscheduled power cuts”, he added.
In a bid to improve revenue realization, Circle I, Srinagar, disconnected 448 commercial and 147 industrial units on Tuesday for having failed to pay energy dues for the last three months amounting to Rs. 13.50 crore. The commercial and industrial units whose power connections were disconnected are situated in Sheikhbagh, Dalgate, Habbakadal, Nishat, Khunmoh in Electric Division I and Khanyar, Hawal, KK Moulla, Rainawari and Zakura in ED IV.
The spokesperson further stated that KPDCL is targeting improvement in billing and collection efficiency to improve revenue realization and bringing down AT&C losses to the levels fixed by the Government under RDSS norms.