You ViewsVOLUME 18 ISSUE # 43

How to stop power theft

The crisis of inflated electricity bills has led to protests across the country as people are struggling to pay the astronomical amounts they have been asked to dish out against alleged overbilling. One of the major reasons behind the disturbance, among many others, happens to be electricity theft because of corrupt elements in the various agencies involved in the power distribution segment across the country. According to Power Division data, electricity theft has caused a loss of Rs500 billion to the national exchequer.

A number of methods have been introduced to overcome power theft, but all in vain due to lack of practicability and implementation. However, eternal vigilance can bear fruitful results in this regard. The relevant authorities should install in the electricity meters indicators having green light for a legitimate connection and red light for an illegal one, also known as kunda in common parlance. The green light would show that the connection is genuine and has not been tampered with, while the red light would indicate interference with the meters or electricity wires. The red light should not go off unless e-fine has been paid. The introduction of e-fines, instead of an obsolete manual mechanism which encourages malpractices, will ultimately reduce corruption in the relevant circles.

Besides, awareness programmes should be launched to encourage people to report whenever they observe a red light blinking in any meter anywhere. They should simply send photos on an especially-designed portal which should deal only with such complaints.

For every authentic theft report, the complainant should receive a certain reward, such as some free electricity units. It will serve as an incentive for honest, tax-paying citizens. This whole campaign, if implemented, will not only reduce electricity theft, but will also add revenue to the national exchequer.

Aneel Ahmed