‘Discoms in Haryana passing off power theft as sales to farmers’

Senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka has written to the finance and electricity departments of the Haryana government, pointing out that power distribution companies in the State were trying to pad off power theft as sales to farmers.

Mr. Khemka, who is currently Principal Secretary, Archaeological Department (Haryana), has written to both the departments, stating that the “Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) has been admitting inflated claims of discoms for agriculture pumpset (AP) sales to farmers, burdening the public with huge Rural Energy (RE) subsidies. This public fraud is unfortunately not contested by the government before the HERC. The great fudge enables the discoms to claim over 9,200 million units (MU) as total AP sales and receive RE subsidy of ₹6,900 crore from the government without a murmur, helping the discoms to pad off power theft as sales to farmers.”

He added that the average Transmission and Distribution (T&D) losses of the two discoms (Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam and Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam) after accounting for AP sales are 19%. “If the AP sales are properly metered and accounted for at the farmer’s end, the true T&D losses of the discoms may be closer to 40%. A study was carried out earlier by the agriculture department in October 2007, wherein AP consumption was estimated at 1,115 MU, in the event of no rains when crops needed maximum irrigation. In the year 2007-08, the discoms were claiming RE subsidy for 5,639 MU, which in the span of the last 12 years has risen steadily by 65% to over 9,200 MU, without change in either the gross cropped area or the cropping pattern,” he wrote in the letter.

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