The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has criticised Punjab power utility PSPCL for not paying Rs. 251.38 crore as electricity duty to the state and adjusting Rs. 270.22 crore against subsidy without government orders.
In its latest report on revenue, the government auditor found in its report that the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) did not pay Rs. 251.38 crore to the government.
The audit of chief electrical inspector (CEI) disclosed the PSPCL collected electricity duty of Rs. 2,286.69 crore but credited Rs. 2,035.31 crore into government account, leaving Rs. 251.38 crore unpaid at the close of FY 2012-13.
The unremitted amount of the duty collected by PSPCL grew from Rs. 29 crore at the end of 2007-08 to a staggering Rs. 251.38 crore at the end of 2012-13.
Electricity duty is collected from consumers on sale of power, reflected through electricity bills, and is credited into the government account.
Under the Punjab Electricity Duty Act, the PSPCL is not authorised to utilise the electricity duty to meet expenses without prior sanctions of the government.
With the Act's provision for penalty up to four times of duty arrears, CAG found that the CEI failed to impose penalty which could be to the tune of Rs. 1,005.52 crore.
The CEI while stating that regular reminders were issued to PSPCL, admitted that due to non-formulation of rules and absence of any time-bound action plan by the government, the power utility could not be forced to deposit the duty amount along with interest.
CAG also found that PSPCL carried out adjustment of subsidy on its own, against free power given to the farm sector, to the extent of Rs. 270.22 crore against the electricity duty payable to the state in 2009-10.
This violation of the provision of the government accounting resulted in understatement of the receipt to the tune of Rs. 270.22 crore.