Patna Electricity Supply Undertaking has formed special teams to prevent power theft during Durga Puja.
The teams would be responsible for surveillance of pandals to ensure that puja organisers do not draw power illegally.
A senior Patna Electricity Supply Undertaking (Pesu) official said: “All junior engineers have been asked to ensure that there is no power theft in areas under their jurisdiction. If any puja organiser is caught ‘hooking’ (stealing power), they would have to pay a fine up to Rs 20,000.”
The official, however, claimed that it was difficult to check certain kinds of power theft despite the presence of special teams. “It is impossible to check overdrawing of electricity. For instance, if a puja organiser has taken a connection of 2KW and draws extra power, it is difficult for us to charge the differential amount,” he said.
Sources said power theft by Durga Puja organisers was common. According to rules, organisers have to apply for a separate power connection for their pandals.
H.R. Pandey, deputy general manager (public relations), Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Limited, said: “Organisers have to apply for separate electricity connections. They would be provided with a meter.”
Only those Durga Pujas that have got the required licence from the district administration would be provided with separate connections and meters. Patna requires 550MW during peak hours. During Durga Puja, the demand goes up to 600MW. “As most offices are closed, we do not face any power crisis. If we need more power, we can buy it from the private sector,” said Pandey.
Pesu has also set up round-the-clock control rooms to attend to complaints and keep tabs on power supply for the days of the festival.