Although the administration has launched an aggressive campaign to recover dues from the defaulters especially influential politicians, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is still number two in power thefts.

After Nagaland, Jammu, and Kashmir recorded huge Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) losses during the last five years.

In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, the Minister of Power and Renewable Energy, R K Singh said that line losses in electrical networks are predominantly due to ohmic (heat) loss.

"Illegal electricity connections and theft of power lead to commercial loss which affects the financial health of the distribution companies with consequential effects like poor quality of power. The Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) loss is one of the key indicators of DISCOMs performance, which includes the impact of power theft also", he said.

Power demand.
Power demand.IANS

Nagaland has the highest number of 60.69 percent AT&C losses followed by Jammu and Kashmir with 59.28 percent AT&C losses.

The Minister said that the pilferage of electricity is one of the several reasons for AT&C losses of the power distribution utilities.

Rajya Sabha

Power connections of Azad, J&K BJP president were disconnected earlier

Last week, the Jammu Power Distribution Corporation Limited (JPDCL) launched a drive against the influential and chronic defaulters and disconnected 1156 electricity connections including that of former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and President of J&K BJP Ravinder Raina and several government departments.

The power connection of Azad was disconnected as he failed to clear the arrears to the tune of Rs 4,82,143. Similarly, the electricity connection of J&K BJP president Ravinder Raina has been disconnected for his failure to clear arrears. He was not only the defaulter but was also having an illegal power connection.

J&K's power sector reformed; a boon for Valley
J&K's power sector reformed; a boon for Valley

Among the politicians, who have been served notices before the disconnection of power connections are Asiya Naqash PDP, Sunil Kumar BJP, Kavinder Gupta BJP, J&K Apni Party Jammu, Mir Saifullah, Mubarak Gul Mohd Yousuf Lone, Dr. Mehboob Beig, Neelam Langeh (nearly Rs one lakh arrears), Syed Farooq Ahmed Andrabi and Bali Bhagat.

Even several serving IAS and KAS officers are also on the list of defaulters and they too have been served notices for clearing the arrears failing which their electricity connections will also be disconnected.

Prepaid smart meters to be installed to check power thefts

"It is the prime responsibility of respective Distribution Utilities to take adequate measures to stop power theft. However, Govt. of India supplements the efforts of States/ distribution utilities by providing funding for the purpose under various schemes launched from time to time", the Power Minister said.

The Minister further said that under RDSS Prepaid Smart meters including System metering are important interventions in reducing distribution losses in the utilities and in facilitating automatic measurement of energy flows and energy accounting as well as auditing without any human intervention.

"Along with the installation of prepaid Smart metering and the associated Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), System metering at the Feeder and Distribution Transformer level with communicating feature would also be taken up to facilitate proper energy accounting every month for identification of defaulting consumers, theft-prone pockets and high loss areas", the Minister informed.

"Under the scheme, advanced ICT like Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning (AI/ML) would be leveraged to analyze data generated through smart meters to detect the theft cases and to prepare actionable MIS from system-generated energy accounting reports so as to enable the DISCOMs to take informed decisions on power theft along with loss reduction.