In what may rattle top brass of the energy department, UP electricity regulatory commission (UPERC) is considering to impose penalty on managing directors and chief engineers of distribution companies for failing to check incidence of power theft and technical losses.
The electricity regulator's move comes a day after the CAG report projected losses of around Rs 1,500 crore to the state exchequer because of line losses between 2009 and 2014. UPERC chairman Desh Deepak Verma confirmed that the commission would be imposing fine on MDs and chief engineers of distribution companies which have registered high line losses.
"The penalty will be in proportion to the percentage of line losses in their respective area of jurisdiction," he said. Verma said the provisions would also affect future promotion chances of the officials.
The commission has already collected distribution companies' data pertaining to power theft and line losses. "The officials would now be called on different dates and questioned for measures they took to stop incidence of power theft," Verma said and added that the officials would subsequently be penalised.
"The idea is to fix personal responsibility on senior officials. Their being penalised would subsequently send a strong message down the line," a senior UPERC official said.
The commission has already slapped notices on managing director of Madhyanchal Electricity Distribution Company and chief engineers of Lucknow, Bareilly and Faizabad zones which have been registering high aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses. Bareilly and Shahjahanpur registered line losses of around 40% in 2014-15, while Faizabad zone saw line losses to the tune of 37%. The Lucknow zone under the Lucknow Electricity Supply Administration (Lesa) witnessed a high rate of AT&C losses of over 38%.
Sources said the commission may necessitate action against officials under 142 of the state electricity act. It may be recalled that based on the performance in reduction of AT&C losses, UPERC had reduced the burden of regulatory surcharge on consumers through its April 22 order.