In an attempt to combat large-scale power pilferage and improve bill deposits by defaulting consumers, Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL) conducted a whopping 10,465 inspections and disconnected over 11,000 consumers in the last 10 days of November 2023.

KPDCL also realized a revenue of Rs.85.24 crore, including power receipts, in the same period, with highest remittances of Rs.16.42 crore recorded on November 28 alone.

Sharing details, a KPDCL spokesperson confirmed rampant hooking of lines on bare conductors in metered areas and exceeding energy use beyond agreed load by flat-rated consumers across Kashmir Division. “During inspection overdrive, penalty of Rs.1.03 crore was imposed on consumers found involved in power theft across all 6 O&M Circles in last 10 days of November. As many as 995 connections were regularised and 2120 KW load added,” the spokesman said in a statement to Srinagar based news agency Kashmir Dot Com.

O&M Circle Ganderbal conducted the highest number of 2,945 inspections, followed by Circle Spore with 2,048, Circle II Srinagar 1,950, Pulwama 1,528, Bijbehara 1,004 and Circle I Srinagar 990.

Crediting KPDCL patrolling teams for moving out in sub-zero temperature to expose power pilferage, the spokesman shared details of 11,238 consumers disconnected in the last 10 days of November, who had pending energy dues exceeding three months. This included 7,828 domestic, 2,979 commercial and 346 industrial consumers.

The spokesperson assured the consumers of strict adherence to the power curtailment schedule following additional allocation of power to UT of Jammu & Kashmir by the Central Government.

Emphasizing judicious use of power, KPDCL spokesperson also warned consumers to avoid hooking, bypassing meters and exceeding overload, failing which KPDCL will file criminal charges under relevant provisions of the Electricity Act. “We will soon start sharing details of consumers who have pending energy dues in lakhs towards the organisation. We will also expose hookers who have the temerity to openly use power unauthorisedly,” he said. adding that FIRs will be lodged against those persons who physically assault KPDCL staff for performing official duties.

The spokesman also warned commercial consumers including hotels, malls and other business outlets who have been found involved in tampering with meters and have been caught red-handed by the Central Inspection Squad of KPDCL. “We have taken cognizance under law and penalised them. These penalties for power theft have been confirmed by the First Appellate Authority under Sections 126 & 127 of the Electricity Act. KPDCL will ensure the fines are deposited, otherwise we will act tough and initiate legal proceedings against them,” he said, adding the lists of all such defaulters are lying with KPDCL and will be made public soon.

Confirming positive outcomes of accelerated inspection and disconnection drives, KPDCL spokesman said such drives will continue which are aimed at preventing energy losses and enhancing revenue collection from defaulting consumers. “There have been many positive takeaways from such drives. This will help us in adhering to the power curtailment schedule and extending comfort to the genuine consumers,” he assured.

Reiterating concern over the rate of damage to Domestic Transformers (DTs), the spokesperson urged the consumers to prevent overloading of DTs which puts entire habitations to great hardships during peak winter times. “We have maintained steady rate of replacing damaged transformers. Our teams at Central Workshop Pampore and divisional-level workshops are working 24X7 to repair damaged DTs and ensuring time-bound replacement,” he added. (KDC)