Electricity Theft, A Major Problem in Kashmir, is Not Only Illegal. It is Sinful Too

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Zubair Farooq

Theft of electricity is the criminal practice of stealing electrical power is very common in Kashmir.
According to a study, 80% of worldwide theft occurs in private dwellings and 20% on commercial and industrial premises. The various types of electrical power theft include:
(A) Nontechnical:
Direct hooking from the line
It is generally called “Cable Hooking” and is the most used method. 80% of global power theft is by direct tapping from the line. The consumer taps into a power line from a point ahead of the energy meter and thus this energy consumption is unmeasured. In Kashmir, Direct hooking from line is a common method of stealing electricity, which is due to:
Overhead transmission and distribution system,
Lack of insulation in wires.
Location of utility pole.
(B) Technical
(i) Bypassing the energy meter
In this method, the input terminal and output terminal of the energy meter is short-circuited, preventing the energy from registration in the energy meter.
(ii)Injecting foreign element into the energy meter;
(iii)Physical obstruction;
(iv)ESD attack on the electronic meter;
The total installed capacity of Jammu and Kashmir is 3389.21MW, with three ownerships viz State (1534.03 MW), Private (59.85MW), Central (1795MW) according to a CEA 2018 report (Central Electricity Authority). According to JKSPDC, the estimated hydropower potential of the state is 20,000 Megawatts (MW), of which only 3263.46 MW i.e. approximately 19.80 % have been exploited so far. So the maximum electricity we get is from hydropower plants. Since the power output from any hydropower plant is mainly a function of discharge (quantity of water), but in Jammu and Kashmir, the rivers are mainly snow fed and the water capacity decreases in winter.
Usually, the peak demand occurs in the months of summer, but in Kashmir the peak load demand occurs in the winter months (because of heating purposes).So, the total load is compensated mainly by thermal power plants.
Now when such kind of stealing occurs, the load demand touches the sky with emphasis load on thermal power plants; generally we consume less than 5KW per day(per house hold with normal load), because of tariff issues. On stealing, the bandit consumes more than the normal consumption, as a great saying “muftuk sharab chu chamut kazew”.This stealing of electric power is due to unawareness and we are connecting this theft with the shortage of power, which is rather baseless.
According to the Quran, it is a major sin because:
(I)Stealing and utilizing electricity unlawfully (one of the Hudud crimes).
(II)Degradation of earth: This may be surprising, how stealing of electricity degrades the environment. If an analysis is done per kw of electricity emits 0.7 kg of carbon dioxide (fossil fuel fired power plants). As I quote, the peak demand in winter is mainly compensated by thermal power plants. On stealing, the bandit utilizes power more than 7 kW per day (as it tariff free), which can lead to dramatic changes (as emission of carbon dioxide is a function of units generated), which means if the bandit consumes some units (kW) extra, it increases load of generating station to generate extra units, which in turn increases the carbon dioxide emission (more power generation means more input required, more input required means more emission of greenhouse gases, and hence more degradation occurs) and blame is for the person who steals the electricity.
Allah has created this earth and we don’t have any vested right to degrade it. Many Verses of Quran are directly related to sustainability; some of these are:
“Do not damage the earth” Al-Baqarah Verse 11;
“Allah dislike destruction” Al-Baqarah Verse 205;
“Allah dislike the person who cause destruction” Al-Maidah Verse 64;
“Don’t you cause destruction on earth” Al-A‘raf Verse 54,85;
“Do not act reign destructively on earth, causing mischief” Al-A‘raf Verse 74.
According to the law, electricity theft is an offense and action is taking Under Part XII Section 86 (1-6) (Jammu and Kashmir electricity Act 2010).
There are also local issues pertaining to the theft of electricity:
It reduces GDP;
It causes problem in distribution transformers, one of the main problems in Kashmir;
Power cuts.

—The author, a student at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi can be reached at: Zubayr.farooq77@gmail.com