Indian utility Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) has identified some 55,000 cases of energy theft during a recent drive to identify customers who are stealing power. Cash-strapped after a decision by the state to give farmers free electricity in the run-up to the elections, the utility was told recently that the deadline for its unbundling had been set for June 2005. At that date independent entities to handle generation, transmission and distribution will be established out of the former MSEB.

Growth in monthly revenue collection is now up by some 15%, and the utility is continuing to identify illegal connections across the state.

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