The university has started the study and is expected to complete it within a year. Four members of the electrical engineering department are involved in the study.
The agriculture sector consumes 14,000 million units of the 70,000 million units distributed by the board. "This is just a rough calculation. We supply free power to hut dwellers and farmers, but we cannot meter the use due to political compulsions," said a senior TNEB official.
As metering of connections is essential to understand supply and consumption, TNEB commissioned the study. "It will be a scientific study. TNEB has provided us all the details. Now we are analyzing them to find out of consumption pattern. If necessary we will make field visits," said a faculty at the university's electrical department.
The study was undertaken as TNEB got reports about agricultural connections being misused. "Some farmers allow water dealers to use their connections to run pumps and draw water from wells. This is common in the western region of Tamil Nadu, including Coimbatore. Every year we detect 300 cases. During 2009-10, 329 such cases were detected and in the year before, 317," said an official.
"Politicians do not want to meter the agriculture connections fearing the vote bank. But it is essential to curb power theft in the sector and such a study is the only way we can understand the consumption pattern," said the official.
A recent study by Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group said the biggest problem facing the debt-ridden TNEB is the lack of metering of over 20 lakh farm power connections. It said TNEB routinely puts transmission losses at 18%, but that figure is not scientific, and the total annual losses are 30% to 32%, which includes farm power.
Source- Times of India