Focused solutions could help stop electricity theft

The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) removed numerous illegal electricity connections near Dadar railway station (W) recently. Acting on a tip-off, BEST vigilance officers, along with Shivaji Park police and BMC ‘G’ North ward officers, conducted a joint operation to dismantle the unauthorised connections.

The unauthorised hawkers have been tapping electricity from street poles and electricity supply boxes under the bridge. Somebody has been quoted in the report as saying hawkers have been illegally tapping electricity for years. They use it to power their shops under the bridge. A BEST spokesperson confirmed there had been a joint operation with the BMC and police to remove all such connections.

This clean-up operation also highlights that the theft must be going on for years as somebody has stated in a report, considering this is such a high-density hawking spot. The electricity theft clean-up is welcome but we need to look at the bigger picture. The illegal hawkers were back at the spot after this operation. This automatically means they will try to steal electricity once again. This is certainly not going to stop after one drive.

One way is surprise checks. These should be real surprises, not drives in which information is already gained beforehand, so that, hawkers are ‘prepared’ and the surprise loses sting. The second is there must be some anti-energy theft devices available. Can one use these? Can the BEST think of installing these, or safeguarding the BEST electricity boxes in some way? There surely must be some way to ensure this and the electricity company come up with a technological solution.

One also has to remember that these hawkers are not only illegal but power thieves, too. This may not be one isolated area where this is happening. It needs wide-scale operations and vision to be stamped out.

Leave a Comment