A study by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago on electricity bill payment in Bihar has found that the habit of power theft is “a consequence of society treating electricity as a right rather than a commodity to be bought and sold”.

The study, conducted recently in poor and rural areas across the state, found that the “link between payment and supply had been severed”. The study said “customers on average received about 17 hours of electricity in a day, and many paid less than 20 per cent of their share. Most strikingly, the areas that paid more didn’t necessarily get more power.”

The study, “The Consequences of Treating Electricity as a Right”, was published in the Winter 2020 edition of Journal of Economic Perspectives….