NEA warns of power blackouts in Lalitpur if power theft not stopped

Published On: February 2, 2018 08:05 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 2: Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Managing Director Kulman Ghising has warned that the electric utility could cut off power supply to various areas of Lalitpur if people there do not cooperate to control electricity theft. 

Stating that organized electricity theft is rampant in different parts of the district, Ghising said that NEA has given a 15-day ultimatum to consumers to stop stealing electricity by directly connecting wire to the main transmission line. He also urged the locals to help the NEA in controlling the theft and plugging electricity leakage. 

“It is both unfortunate and a matter of shame that users of the capital city are involved in power theft,” Ghising said, warning that the NEA would be compelled to cut off power supply if they do not stop electricity theft within 15 days. “If we cut off power supply, we will not roll back our decision irrespective of the pressure. We need support from one and all to make the capital city free of electricity theft,” he added.

According to NEA, power theft is rampant in places like Lukhusi, Chyasal, Mangal Bazaar, Ikhalakhu, Dhalachhe, Saugal, Dupat, Pinche and Pilachhe as well as Harisiddhi, Guhitole, Thaiba, Bandegaun, Siddhipur, Lubhu Bazaar and Lankuri Bhanjyang.
Power theft stands at nearly 50 percent of total supply to these areas, according to NEA. Ghising says such act has cause revenue loss of around Rs 500 million annually. 

Birendra Singh, chief of NEA's Distribution Center at Lagankhel, said direct tapping from the line, tampering of electricity meter box and prohibiting NEA staffers from reading electricity meters are some of the ways that locals are using to steal electricity.

“Locals even attack our staffers when they reach these areas to control electricity theft,” Singh said, adding, “These people are getting protection from political parties and local administration which is very unfortunate.”

Ghising recently met with Lalitpur CDO Mahadev Pantha and Lalitpur Municipality Mayor Chiribabu Maharjan as well as chief of Lalitpur Police and other authorities, seeking their support to crack down on power theft. 

Lately, NEA has intensified its efforts to control electricity leakage in collaboration with law enforcement agencies including Nepal Police. Anyone found using electricity through illicit means is charged for the loss that they would have inflicted on NEA for a year by calculating the load that they have consumed at the time of the raid. According to existing rules, the loss will be counted in monetary terms. On top of the recovery of loss, the power utility slaps a fine equivalent to the amount to be recovered.

NEA plans to reduce electricity leakage to 13.18 percent by the end of the current fiscal year 2017/18 from existing 16.82 percent. 

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