Hyderabad, India — (METERING.COM) — April 2, 2008 – A Fatwa has been issued by the Delhi-based Islamic organization Darul-Uloom-Deoband declaring all forms of energy theft as un-Islamic.

If implemented the Fatwa is expected to help curb energy theft, particularly in Hyderabad’s South Zone, where meter tampering has been long been rampant and field staff from the Central Power Distribution Company of Andhra Pradesh Limited (APCPDCL) have been subject to physical attacks.

According to an unnamed source previous approaches to a religious organization in the city were rejected on the grounds that the organization did not wish to enter into political scuffles.

Though the zone is currently recording a high percentage of bill payments, there are huge gaps, ranging from 16 to 62 percent, between the power supplied and the metered consumption in the various divisions.

Even the installation of digital meters is becoming a daily struggle for the field staff, according to the source. Recently introduced pole-mounted meters proved successful in reducing pilferage initially, with 20,000 such meters installed in Santoshnagar and 96,000 meters in Madannapet, but subsequently the locks of many of the meter boxes have been broken and the meters tampered.