Hunt for power pilferers onA day after 16 officials were arrested for tampering with electricity meters, police said they are looking for over 20 owners of various industries and Nepal Electricity Authority staffers.
A day after 16 officials were arrested for tampering with electricity meters, police said they are looking for over 20 owners of various industries and Nepal Electricity Authority staffers.
The Metropolitan Police Crime Division said the nexus between the meter readers, supervisors and the owners of various industries has cost the NEA millions of rupees while contributing to long power outages.
“Since the probe is underway, we cannot reveal the details yet. We are looking for other owners who earned millions through meter tampering,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Sarbendra Khanal, chief of the MPCD. SSP Khanal said the malpractice has been going on for a decade.
The MPCD is seeking additional information on the suspected NEA officials. The police launched a probe at the request of the power utility into possible anomalies in electricity distribution.
Tara Nath Sharma, chief of the Leakage Control Unit at the NEA, said they have been consulting with the concerned directors. “All the directors have been alerted. We are also conducting our own study,” said Sharma.
Police said the meter readers would punch less number of units than the actual readings, leading to a massive lessening in the bill amount the “beneficiaries” were liable to pay. The meter readers used equipment to break the seal and fix it again. They recalibrated the meter manually, bringing the units consumed sharply down.
For abetting the owners, the readers would get Rs10,000 to Rs300,000, according to the units that were falsified.
According to the NEA annual report, electricity leakage stood at around 26 percent this fiscal year. An inefficient distribution system, huge amounts of dues and power theft have been cited as major contributors to the loss. There are some districts where leakage is as high as 70 percent.
Meanwhile, police are recording statements from the arrestees after the Kathmandu District Court remanded them to five-day custody on Sunday. SSP Khanal said they would be charged for fraudulence.