Shimoga district tops in power theft, pilferage

281 cognizable and 1,075 non-cognizable offences registered

The statistics available with Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (MESCOM) which supplies electricity in four districts - Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Chikmagalur and Shimoga reveal that the power theft and pilferage are on the rise and Shimoga has the dubious distinction of standing top on the list.

In 2011-12, a total of 760 cases of power theft were registered by Mescom, out of  which 195 were cognizable (C) which amounts to criminal case and 565 non-cognizable (NC). Out of this, Udupi registered 207 (C-11, NC-196) closely followed by Shimoga - 195 cases (C-77, NC-118). As many as 179 cases were detected each in DK and Chikmagalur district.

The year 2012-13, showed a sudden spurt in the number of cases,1356 with 281 cognizable and 1075  non-cognizable offences. Shimoga district stood far ahead in the list with 169 ‘C’ cases and 439 ‘NC’ cases. As many as 267 cases were reported from Udupi (C-9, NC-258) followed by Dakshina Kannada (250) and Chikmagalur (231). The power theft directly from supply line falls under cognizable category and tampering with electricity meter is treated as a non-cognizable offence.

625 cases in 2013-14

During the first half of the current financial year (April to September), Mescom has already registered 625 power theft cases, wherein 262 were from Shimoga followed by 154 in Chikmagalur, 109 in Dakshina Kannada and 100 in Udupi. As many as 14,14,399 units of electricity has been pilfered in 625 cases.

Mescom Vigilance Superintendent P Harischandra said that power theft cases are on the rise and his department is blazing all it's guns to nab the culprits. “People have been using innovative ways now a days to steal power. Recently, we seized a remote control like device which helps to freeze the running of electricity meter without interrupting power supply,” he said. 

Mescom officials said minor power theft by a sizeable number of farmers is the problem in Shimoga unlike in Dakshina Kannada, where consumers are generally aware of the consequences of power theft barring a few who steal electricity in large scale for commercial purposes.

A section of farmers usually steal electricity for running more than one pump set for irrigation purpose. The connection taken for a single pump will be passed to three or four motors. Many farmers residing on the periphery of forests illegally take connection from electric post to the fence to check animal menace.

Penalty

Since April to September during the current financial year, a total of Rs 1.68 crore has been slapped as penalty in 625 cases, out of which Rs 47.15 lakh was recovered. In 2011-12, Rs 2.35 crore was levied as penalty, out of which around 69 per cent was recovered. A sum of Rs 4.43 crore was the penalty during 2012-13, out of which 36.46 per cent has been recovered.

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