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Govt to crack down on coastal power thefts

Consumers told to MAINTAIN load as per lAid down norms within 30 days

13th September 2018, 07:07 Hrs

the goan I network

MARGAO  

Power consumers along the state’s coastal belt, beware. You may be hauled up by the Power department for unauthorized use of electricity and theft of power in case you have increased the power load without nod from the department and also fail to approach the department for increase in the load.   

For, Chief Electrical Engineer NN Reddy has issued a notice in the media warning power consumers along the state’s coastal belt that they will be hauled up under the Electricity Act for unauthorized use of electricity and theft of electricity. The Chief Electrical engineer has given 30 days time to the powers consumers to comply with the laid down procedure. More details can be obtained from concerned divisions, sub-divisions or visit the power department’s website under “conditions of supply”.   

Consumer rights activists, however, have cried foul and have slammed the Chief Electrical engineer’s public notice, questioning the way with which the consumers have been told to apply for increase in power-load within 30 days.   

GOACAN convenor Roland Martins pointed out that the Chief Electrical engineer has only inserted a public notice in certain newspapers asking the consumers to get their load increased within 30 days. “How can the Chief Electrical engineer through a public notice expect the power consumers to apply for increase in their power load within 30 days. You think that the power consumers will read the notice. And, have they been explained in detail how to go about the work of following the procedure’, Roland questioned, saying while the power department has been right as per the law to get the consumers apply for the increase in the load, the 30-day deadline seemed unjustified.   

“We activists demand to know from the Chief Electrical Engineer how a mere 30 days is enough for the power consumers to take note of the public notice. The short time frame only pose a risk to the consumers that some unscrupulous agents and officials resort to extortion through blackmail and threats”, Roland warned.   

When The Goan called up the Chief Electrical Engineer to shed light on the public notice, he said the notice has been issued since it has been observed that the recent power supply failures, mostly along the coastal belt, could be attributed to the increase in the consumer loads above the sanctioned loads, resulting in overloading and tripping of associated supply lines and transformers. “The notice also asks the consumers to assess their existing load with respect to the sanctioned load and to apply for increase in load as per the rules in force relating to condition of supply in cases where the consumers load has exceeded the sanctioned load,” he said.   

Reddy said the objective behind the exercise is not to penalize the power consumers, but is aimed at assessing the actual load required along the coastal belt so that the department can take up measures for upgradation of infrastructure, including additional transformers etc. “This is not aimed at punishment of the consumers. If the 30 day period is less, then we can consider increasing the deadline. By publishing the public notice, the department is only creating an awareness amongst the consumers to assess their existing load vis-à-vis the sanctioned load. We will certainly extend the 30 day deadline if required,” Reddy added.