Realizing its limitation in cracking the whip on consumers who have tampered with electronic meters, the power department has adopted a public friendly approach to convey the message that power theft is a social crime.
AND THE strategy seems to be paying the dividends as the department has managed to catch some big defaulters. Chief engineer, distribution, Alok Verma says, "With increasing number of devices (that slow down meters) being detected in electronic meters in every locality, it had become imperative to seek the co-operation of public to zero in on rogue consumers. So, we decided to conduct raids on specific information provided by consumers against persons indulging in irregularities. The results have been quite encouraging"
In some cases, the entire locality reels under power cuts due to illegal connections by some consumers, he added. Verma also said the department conducts regular drives after studying the consumption pattern of consumers under different categories. But given the shortage of staff it is not possible to catch hold of every defaulter following the above yardstick, he said, adding that it is here that responsible citizens can help the department. Executive engineer, distribution Mohd Feroze said "Increased awareness among consumers coupled with regular drives have yielded impressive revenue for the department in all six divisions -- Mayo Hall, Tagore Town, Kalyani Devi, Ranibagh, Naini and Bamrauli."
On an average, the daily collection of the department is crossing Rs three crore but on Saturday it had crossed Ra six crore given the outstanding payment of Rs two crore deposited by a blue chip synthetic manufacturing unit. Mohd Feroze said consumers should avail the voluntary disclosure scheme and deposit three months arrears at a time and get their connections regularized failing which action including lodging of FIR would be initiated against them after March 31, 2012.
But, he added, drives against defaulters will continue. He said during summer, the department will conduct special drives against consumers who are using devices in excess of the sanctioned load. These include air conditioners, coolers and other related items and heavy penalty would be imposed on them. The drive will cover consumers both under the domestic and commercial categories. And as is the usual practice, the department apart from realizing assessment charges and penalty will also snap the connections. Any attempt to hook on connections illegally after this would result in lodging of criminal case against the consumers, he warned.