M A I N   N E W S

Domestic, rural consumers under PSEB scanner
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 13
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is now targeting domestic and rural consumers to check power theft and to control the unprecedented power purchase, which is likely to go up to Rs 2,400 crore by March this year.

The board is targeting domestic and rural consumers now because recent surveys have revealed that the bulk of power theft in the state is now being done by these consumers. The board is not worried much about theft in the industrial sector due to the installation of double-end meters, which make theft very difficult.

Besides targeting domestic and rural consumers, government colonies are also being put under the scanner. During a recent survey conducted by Member, Distribution, H.C. Sood in Jalandhar it was found that the Police Colony in Jalandhar had defaulted on paying bills on electricity worth Rs 28 lakh. The board is now going in for installation of single meters in such colonies and has already installed single meters in all its own colonies in the state.

Other steps on the anvil include installation of meters on feeders so that officials of the board can be held accountable for the electricity released from it.

Farmers have also been advised to get their unauthorised load connections regularised by paying a fee of Rs 1,000 for motors above five horsepower and Rs 3,000 for motors above 7.5 horsepower. This drive has netted the board around Rs 17 crore since its start in January and more money is expected to be collected by the end of January when the scheme will end. The board is adopting a carrot and stick policy on the issue right now and will get tough on unauthorised load agricultural connections after the end of the scheme.

Board Chairman Y.S. Ratra says the scheme under which farmers running motors on unauthorised loads were being encouraged to declare the same would also help the PSEB to know about the total load of motor connections in the agricultural sector so that it could better prepare itself for the paddy season ahead.

As far as domestic connections are concerned, a drive has been started to get all new meters installed in boxes on the main gate of the house. Old meters will also be brought to the main gate of the house in a phased manner to guard against tampering and bring in more efficiency in recording data.

Member, Distribution, H.C. Sood said the board would also check domestic consumers on Saturdays and Sundays and that a 100 strong enforcement wing team had been formed to bring in for effectiveness in the checking process.

The enforcement wing has also been asked to analyse data of a particular industry or area after putting it under sustained surveillance and then go for checks.

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