National Conference (NC) MLC Vijay Bakya on Wednesday alleged that the government was unable to check power pilferage in the state, saying the department was not in a position to charge tariff from the consumers despite e-metering in place.
"It is a paradox that despite e-metering, the government is unable to stop pilferage and charge actual tariff from the consumers, as tempering with meters is common place," said Bakya, while seeking reply from the minister concerned in the legislative council.
He also raised a question over the government's commitment to ensure un-interrupted power supply to metered areas.
Raising a supplementary, Congress MLC BR Kundal said that the department's complacent attitude have put consumers in a quagmire, that has resulted in accumulation of arrears and penalties mounting to lakhs of rupees since the past 5-6 years.
Ajay Sadhotra, in his reply, informed that the government is committed to ensure uninterrupted power supply to metered areas.
He said that due to losses sustained on account of illegal hooking, pilferage and theft resorted to by the consumers; the department has issued curtailment scheduled of two hour power supply in metered areas.
The minister informed that in the non-metered and partially-metered 11KV feeders, eight hours of normal curtailment is being carried out. He said that even chief minister had issued a statement in the House that curtailment is linked with transmission and distribution
(T&D) losses, which are still around 53%.
Sadhotra said that regular power supply was also affected due to breakdown and outage of grid stations due to natural calamities, vagaries of weather, and failure of electrical equipment, adding that all such outages are attended on priority to ensure power supply to all affected areas.
"There should be no pilferage of power from the areas which are metered, but then it is human proficiency in discovering the methods that the power theft happens," said Sadhotra.
On the accumulation of pending arrears and the penalties suffered by metered consumers, Sadhotra said that 1.52 lakh regular users were paying bills accordingly, and a system is in place for gradual recovery of the dues.