New Delhi–Terming power theft a major menace for distribution companies, BSES, one of the capital’s two distribution companies (discoms), on Tuesday said a special electricity court here has sentenced an offender to one year of jail and a fine of over Rs 25 lakh.

“A call centre owner has been awarded one year rigorous imprisonment and levied a penalty (Fine + Civil Liability) of over Rs 25 lakh by Special Court of Electricity, Dwarka. In case of default in paying the fine, he will further undergo simple imprisonment of three months,” BSES said in a release here.

“Earlier, the convicted person (Vipin Sharma) was found indulging in direct theft of over 18 KW of electricity for running a mid-sized call centre at RZ-D-3/249, First Floor, Gali No 9, Mahavir Enclave, Palam Colony,” the discom said.

“Even though a switch-board was found at the premises, no meter was found installed on site,” it added.

Power theft not only results in substantial revenue loss to discoms, but also increases the number of trippings and local breakdowns manifold, BSES said.

“Efforts of discom enforcement teams to check the irregularities are thwarted by organised gangs on many occasions. Whenever enforcement teams reach these areas, these gangs ‘gherao’ (surround) them and don’t let them check their premises,” it said.

“Though Delhi discoms have managed to reduce AT & C (accumulated technical and commercial) losses from over 55 per cent to under 15 per cent in the last 14 years, there are still areas in Najafgargh, Jaffarpur, Mundka, Nangloi, Seelampur, Nand Nagari, Yamuna Vihar, Karawal Nagar and Shaheen Bagh where power theft continues to be a concern,” it added.

Last year, special courts in four separate judgements had sentenced to rigorous imprisonment Delhi residents for power theft and imposed heavy fines. (IANS)