Over the last decade, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Vigilance team raided 19545 setups and consumers for electricity thefts and has recovered more than Rs 98 crore. The undertaking had assessed recovery of over Rs 117 crore over these 10 years.
In 2010-11, there were 2,353 consumers of the BEST undertaking who had defaulted on their electricity bills and were owing around Rs 1,347 lakh. "We recovered Rs 1,686 lakh during that financial year. The excess recovery was from the previous years," said a BEST official.
By 2013-14, the number of consumers who had defaulted an amount of Rs 648 lakh, were 1,759. But the undertaking recovered Rs 584 lakh from these consumers.
As per the figures shared by the BEST, the number of defaulters has been dropping over the years. The officials said that Covid-19 has been a reason behind it as the vigilance team had limitations in finding new cases.
In 2019-20, there were 1,355 defaulters who were owing Rs 986 lakh but had paid Rs 844 lakh. Likewise in 2020-21, there were 820 cases where the vigilance department had caught defaulters and recovered Rs 289 lakh while the final assessed amount was Rs 490 lakh.
The BEST has accumulated losses of over Rs 2,500 crore. The BEST has been taking loans to furnish their working capital requirements and have been struggling to pay salaries to their employees.
For FY 2021-22, the BMC has allotted a provisional fund of Rs 750 crore to the BEST. Alongside this, the civic body also stated that a new consultant will be appointed for reviving the financial condition of the BEST.