THEFT, PILFERAGE LOSSES FUEL INDIA'S POWER WOES

THEFT, PILFERAGE LOSSES FUEL INDIA'S POWER WOES

As India grapples with a mounting power shortage, its worries are compounded by huge transmission and distribution losses due to theft, pilferage and defective equipment, officials said on Tuesday.

They said transmission and distribution losses have risen sharply over the years and accounted for 23 percent of the total power produced in the 1994-95 year ending in March."If the present trend continues, the losses are likely to go up," said S.C. Parakh, chairman of the National Power Grid Corp. of India, in a study presented at a seminar on power.

Mr. Parakh said distribution losses from theft, pilferage and improper management could affect the country's economic growth in the long-run.

Throughout the poorer areas of Indian towns and cities, thousands of wires trailing from electricity poles plug slum dwellers illegally into the power system.

Officials said India would require an additional 60,000 megawatts of power by the year 2,007 but might not be able to add more than 20,000 megawatts by then.

They said transmission - from generation plants to the state electricity boards - and distribution losses could add to the widening gap between supply and demand.

The three-day seminar, which opened on Monday, has been organized by AIC Conferences, an Australian company, in association with India's National Power.