Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal sought the support of the states on Thursday to stop the menace of power thefts in the country."Urban areas and our cities and towns also need 24x7 power," Goyal said in his inaugural address at the two-day conference at Consolim, 26 km from here, of power ministers from states across the country.Sharing the Gujarat experience of reducing power thefts, Goyal said the tariff increase in the state had been the lowest."It is not the poor who steal, and it's the bigger power thefts which make corruption," the power minister said.He appealed to all states to reduce power thefts and said there is great political benefit that will accrue from stopping such thefts.
The minister also sought the states' support for some of the central government's initiatives in this regard.Later, during the conference, Goyal will launch an application named Urja, developed by the Union Power Ministry, that will facilitate easy access to information related to the power situation of the user's locality.Urja is designed to help the consumer connect better with the urban power distribution system by providing information such as on power outage, timely release of connections, addressing complaints and power reliability.The ministry will also be launching a soft campaign called Urjagiri, which will entail felicitating and garlanding people caught stealing power, so as to shame them into stopping the practice.The average accumulated technical and commercial (AT&C) losses, for instance, in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand are among the highest at around 30 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively. Delhi loses an estimated Rs 1,000-1,300 crore annually owing to power thefts.