The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking has recovered Rs 250.28 lakh as fine amount between January and November 2020, for electricity theft and meter tampering.
According to data provided by BEST, cases of electricity theft and meter tampering have fallen by 50 per cent in the past one year. In 2019, the BEST recorded 1,291 cases of electricity theft between January and November, while in 2020 there have been only 672 cases in the eleven months.
The fine amount recovered between January and November this year, is one third of what BEST recovered last year. In 2019, BEST recovered Rs 759 lakh as fine amount between January and November by busting 1,291 cases of power theft.
BEST officials stated, the vigilance department often receive tip offs in the form of anonymous letters and phone calls, informing the administration about miscreants who tamper electricity meter or consume power via unmetered supply. After receiving the tip off, a team of vigilance officers conduct raids and if found guilty, BEST penalises the individual by imposing a fine.
The officials also tally the distribution charts, if they find that the consumption is more than the revenue in any area they then conduct raids.
If anyone hesitates to pay the fine amount, BEST administration lodges a police complaint against that person. This year BEST had made provisional claims of Rs 390 lakh of which it has already recovered Rs 250 lakh and has lodged FIRs against 50 miscreants.
"This year the number of FIRs lodged has also reduced by half, now more people are ready to pay the fine amount," Varade told FPJ.
Last year BEST had lodged FIRs against 103 miscreants.
Varade also informed that most of the power theft cases take place in the slum areas of Dharavi, Geeta Nagar and Antop Hill. These areas also have an influence of power mafias, who supply electricity to the chawls via illegal meters and extort money from them in return.
"In slum areas electricity theft is very common, people run multiple appliances like coolers, refrigerators and fans through illegal meters as a result revenue generated from these areas are lesser than the units consumed by them," stated an official.