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Mayor, ward chairmen caught stealing electricity

   February 6, 2019        287        BIBEK SUBEDI

Officials of the Nepal Electricity Authority found local body chiefs in Rautahat district stealing electricity from overhead power lines by using hook lines during an inspection.

Following up on complaints of electricity theft, the officials discovered that the mayor of Gadhimai Municipality Shyam Prasad Yadav, chief of Gadhimai ward-6 Ram Singhasan Yadav and chief of ward-1 of Garuda Municipality Saroj Ray Yadav were involved in power theft.

The Nepal Electricity Authority conducted a surprise check after receiving complaints about rampant electricity theft in the district, and discovered that even elected local representatives were doing it.

Pradip Kumar Sharma, engineer at the electricity leakage control directorate who the led the inspection, confiscated the wires used for connecting with the overhead transmission lines. Officials couldn’t cut off the electricity supplied to their houses due to security reasons.

“We stopped them from stealing power by removing the hook line, but we couldn’t seize the meter as the place was crowded with locals who prevented us from doing so,” said Sharma. “We prepared a report about the offence, and the mayor’s brother Sanjeev Kumar Yadav signed it.”

Sharma’s inspection team sent the report to the Gaur branch of the power utility for further action. The branch office will determine the amount of fine those involved in electricity theft will be made to pay.

Ram Singhasan Yadav was found to be involved in electricity theft at his home and the ward office. Another offender Saroj Ray Yadav was not only using stolen electricity himself but also distributing it to his brother’s house nearby, according to Sharma. “As we witnessed numerous cases of theft, we cut off the electricity supply to the entire area,” said Sharma.

Cases of local representatives being involved in power theft have come out as a new challenge to the Nepal Electricity Authority which is seeking active support from local leaders to prevent it. “It is unfortunate that elected leaders are involved in power threat,” said Kulman Ghising, managing director of the Nepal Electricity Authority.

The state-owned power utility has stopped theft in different parts of the country with the help of local elected representatives. A year ago, it teamed up with local body leaders of Lalitpur to convince the public to refrain from stealing electricity. The plan worked and the utility achieved a fair bit of success in curbing energy theft that was rampant in Lalitpur district.

The Nepal Electricity Authority said 20.45 percent of the electricity generated is lost through the distribution network. According to its estimate, around one-fourth of the total loss is due to theft and this can be minimised. As per the government’s instructions, the power utility is planning to bring down leakage to 15 percent by controlling electricity theft. It needs to bring down leakage to 15 percent within three years, as per the target given by the Energy Ministry.

The Kathmandu Post