Power bill arrears: With eye on govt depts, PSPCL gives one-time settlement option
The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has launched one-time settlement (OTS) scheme for defaulters to clear power dues. Under this scheme, consumers will be able to settle the dues as existing on December 31, 2020. The scheme will be open for three months, starting April 15, 2021.
State government departments are the main defaulters owing about ₹2,245 crore to the power corporation as on March 31.
The water supply and sanitation department owes ₹933.3 crore, local bodies department has ₹681.2 crore outstanding amount, rural development and panchayat owes ₹358.4 crore, irrigation department ₹99.8 crore, health and family welfare ₹75.7 crore, home affairs and justice ₹21.11 crore, industry and commerce ₹12.74 crore, general administration ₹11.66 crore.
Punjab government released ₹10,106 crore against the power subsidy bill to the PSPCL for the financial year 2020-21 and ₹5,779 crore remains pending at the end of March 31, 2021. The state government has earmarked only ₹10,621 crore in the current financial year’s budget for power subsidy to various categories against the likely subsidy amount of approximately ₹17,000 crore. A PSPCL spokesman said the PSPCL has written several times regarding the pending arrears.
In 2019, a similar OTS scheme was launched and power dues totalling ₹121 crore of general consumers were settled. Water supply and sanitation department at that time owed ₹490 crore and after waiving ₹198 crore penalty, the power corporation realised ₹291 crore. Similarly, the outstanding amount against gram panchayats was settled for ₹185 crore.
This time, the defaulting amount against Water supply and sanitation is ₹933 crore against 7,547 connections. The local government has 8,534 connections and an outstanding amount of ₹681 crore. Panchayats have 5,510 connections and default ₹358 crore.