Mumbai, India --- (METERING.COM) --- April 23, 2007 – Some utilities in India, acknowledging that some of their own staff are involved in revenue theft, are setting up franchising arrangements with external suppliers in an effort to reduce losses.

The Indian government is joining many other countries internationally in asking consumers to conserve energy – but much more could be saved if utilities could find a way to stop, or even reduce, energy theft. The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company, for instance, estimates that losses amount to over 30% of the available power, mainly because of illegal use of electricity. But, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the utility is not taking practical steps to prevent this illegal use.

These steps could include regular inspection of meters, increasing the number of connections – particularly in rural areas – and disconnecting meters.

The utility is, however, appointing external suppliers to handle inspections and meter readings in areas where theft is particularly high, with notable success.

Transmission and distribution losses amount to almost two-thirds of the current electricity shortfall, and many believe that measures such as these will be more effective than implementing conservation initiatives.