Illegal Charging by E-Rickshaws in Delhi Leads to ₹1.5 Billion in Losses to DISCOMs

An e-rickshaw consumes around 7-10 units per day


Power theft for the purpose of charging of e-rickshaws has cost the distribution companies in Delhi approximately ₹1.5 billion (~$21.08 million) in a year, according to a report from PTI.

The three DISCOMs that supply power to the national capital are – BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL), BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL), and Tata Power Delhi Distribution (TPDDL).

According to estimates, there are more than one lakh e-rickshaws running in the city. However, only one-fourth of e-rickshaws are registered despite the subsidy provided to them by the government.

An e-rickshaw consumes around 7-10 units of power on a daily basis, which comes to about 2,500-3,600 units per e-rickshaw per annum. The thefts mostly take place at night as the bulk charging facilities are set up at localities like Sangam Vihar, Kalkaji, Tughlakabad, Sarai Kale khan, Seelampur, Yamuna Vihar, Shastri Park, and Karawal Nagar.

“Most of these e-rickshaws are charged in batches as part of an organized illegal network controlled by the local strongmen. The e-rickshaw owners pay fixed money in the range of ₹100 (~$1.41) to ₹150 (~$2.11) per day to the ‘parking and charging’ mafia,” PTI reported based on DISCOM sources.

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission has fixed the rate of ₹5.50 (~$0.077) per unit for charging e-rickshaws. Therefore, the cost of charging an e-rickshaw will significantly reduce and come around only ₹50 (~$0.70) if a legal connection is used.

TPDDL CEO Sanjay Banga said, “We are committed to eradicate the menace of power theft and keeping a close watch on the illegal e-charging set ups in the area of distribution. I appeal to all e-rickshaws owners to take legitimate connections and charge their vehicles in a legitimate and safe manner.”

Recently, Mercom reported that the Delhi government has released its draft Delhi Electric Vehicle Policy 2018.  Under the policy, the government would provide accessible public charging facilities within a 3 km distance from anywhere in Delhi.

Image credit: ArmouredCyborg [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Nitin is a staff reporter at and writes on renewable energy and related sectors. Prior to Mercom, Nitin has worked for CNN IBN, India News, Agricultural Spectrum and Bureaucracy Today. He received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Communication from Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University and Master’s degree in International Relations from Jindal School of International Affairs. More articles from Nitin Kabeer