A vigilance team of Reliance Energy has busted a high-tech power theft case with implications of a much bigger racket operating across the country, an official said here on Tuesday.
Electricity was being stolen through disabling of the power meter with the help of a remote control device, the circuit of which was detected on the meter printed circuit board (PCB).
The Reliance Energy's Central division vigilance team caught red-handed the owner of a small industry at Kandivali west, north -west Mumbai using such sophisticated devices to draw power illegally.
"During inspection, the team found that the electricity meter parameters did not match with instantaneous parameters on a tong tester (clamp on meter).
After noticing this difference, the meter was taken into custody testing, and opened before the accused customer Islam Khan at the National Accreditation Board for Testing & Calibration Laboratories, in Borivali," said the official.
On opening the meter, the lab technicians found a square cut on its back and a remote control circuit mounted on its PCB.
During meter testing, it was observed that the energy-recording system was being controlled by the remote control circuit with the help of a remote device.
Despite the industrial unit working round-the-clock, since the past five-six months, there was a drop in electric consumption as the accused Khan had been operating through remote control device to lower the meter readings.
A complaint has been lodged with Kandivali Police and further investigations are underway.
The new modus operandi is similar to the recent petrol pump scam in which the dispensing machines were tampered using pre-programmed chips to display less fuel without changing the indicator readings, busted last month by Thane Police.
Reliance Energy has assessed that the accused Khan had stolen 31,741 units electricity worth around Rs 7.50 lakh.
The company suspects it to be the tip of a bigger racket in which similar remote controls may have been sold to other customers and appealed to all power distribution companies to check this new method of power pilferage.
Besides, Reliance Energy nabbed two other separate cases of power pilferage in Trombay, lodged a complaint and handed over the two accused, Pyarol and Jafer M. Panjikuti, to the local police.
Incidentally, in the last one year, Reliance Energy had registered 120 FIRs against 412 customers for 260 illegal activities, which was double the previous year.
By such theft-control measures, the company - which serves around three million customers in Mumbai suburbs - this year reduced distribution losses to 8.6 percent, which is among the lowest in the country.
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