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Glare on town of ‘free’ power

Hazaribagh residents are “cooling” themselves, leaving Jharkhand State Electricity Board officials hot and sweating.

A survey by JSEB has revealed that at least 15 to 20 coolers and around 6 air-conditioners (ACs) are sold in the town daily, indicating that there has been a rise in power consumption. But to their utter dismay, this increase in power consumption is not being reflected in electricity bills.

JSEB general manager of Hazaribagh S.N. Prasad said his team had found that vendors and companies selling ACs and air coolers were doing brisk business. But, he said, domestic bills of houses that use these electronic appliances were not as high as expected.

Prasad said the electricity board would soon launch a drive to nab those who were involved in this power theft. He said they would take all possible steps to put a check on this practice. “We will conduct surprise raids in each and every locality to stop such pilferage,” he said.

Sources said residents had a habit of attaching a switch to the meter installed at their house. Whenever they use appliances such as geysers and ACs, that consume more power, they switched off the meter.

JSEB officials were also well aware of such practices. The power department has decided to crack the whip on private electricians who help consumers pilfer power and JSEB official who were involved in the racket.

“It is natural that the rising mercury level has forced residents to run to shops to buy coolers and ACs. Nobody is asking them not to use such devices. But, if one can use such expensive appliances for comfort, they must also be ready to pay for it,” said the general manager, adding that there were reports of transformers burning out due to the increased load.

Last week, JSEB started a complaint forum at Dewangana Chowk that will work like a court to solve all consumer cases in record time.

“We give all facilities to consumers, but they should also realise that we manage everything from the money they pay. Increased load on transformers without our knowledge results in snags that disrupt supply,” said a junior engineer.