New Delhi: To fund a new overhead electricity distribution cabling infrastructure in states to prevent uncontrolled power theft, the Centre is mulling over a scheme worth Rs 37,000 crore. Owing to aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C), the country loses around Rs 8,500 crore a year, according to estimates. Commercial losses are a consequence of lack of collection, non-billing, pilferage and theft, as technical losses are contingent upon network condition and wastage because of heat dissipation in the distribution of electricity.
“The government is considering coming out with a scheme to fund aerial bunched cables in distribution companies. It is estimated that the scheme would be worth Rs 37,000 crore and cover 20 percent of the network where aggregate technical and commercial losses are more than 25 percent,” said a government official on conditions of anonymity.
AT&C losses dropped to 18.72 percent in 2017-18 under the Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY), from 20.74 percent in 2015-16. The losses went down in 23 states during this period, according to data. AT&C losses in Manipur fell 20 percent, whereas the reduction in Assam, Rajasthan, Haryana and Bihar was close to 10 percent.
Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh were among the outliers as there was an increase in their AT&C losses during the same period by 6 percent, 1 percent and 1 percent in the states, respectively. In the first half of 2018-19, the country’s AT&C losses improved to 20.9 percent from 21.4 percent a year ago.
Ariel bunched cables to tackle hooking method
Hooking is one of the most common methods of theft as pilferers use hooks on non-insulated distribution network wires to obtain free electricity in the target areas. To make power theft difficult, Ariel bunched cables are insulated. Around 70,000 km of aerial bunch cables have been sanctioned by the Centre under the Integrated Power Development Scheme.