Comply with order on security deposit interest payment or face action: UPERC to discoms

Passing severe strictures against discoms for still not complying with its order asking it to pay consumers the interest on their security deposit, UPERC gave them three-month time as last chance
Passing severe strictures against discoms for still not complying with its order asking it to pay consumers the interest on their security deposit, UPERC gave them three-month time as last chance
Passing severe strictures against discoms for still not complying with its order asking it to pay consumers the interest on their security deposit, UPERC gave them three-month time as last chance
Published on Oct 30, 2021 10:42 PM IST
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Passing severe strictures against distribution companies (discoms) for still not complying with its order asking it to pay consumers the interest on their security deposit, the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) has granted one last chance to them by providing three months’ time to ensure compliance or face penal action.

The commission has asked discoms to also submit an interim report on the progress made in the matter by November 15. The commission got furious when discoms sought more time to comply with the commission’s earlier order.

“Despite the categorical submission made by director, UPPCL, in July 2019, request is being made to provide another three months even after lapse of more than one-and-a-half-years from the committed time. It is an extremely disturbing situation galore with consumer apathy that even after two years from the committed time, the respondents need more time to comply with the directions,” the three-member bench headed by UPERC chairman RP Singh observed in its order on October 27.

Earlier during the hearing, the UPPCL submitted that the KESCO was already making timely payment of interest on security deposit and apprised the commission that other four discoms had also submitted that, as per the decision taken in the board meeting, it was decided that the system shall be updated in the next few months depending upon the connected load and other conditions associated with the consumers but said that required more time to update security data.

“The commission has so far been patient and tolerant with the licensee and thus provides one last opportunity to the licensee before initiating the proceedings under Section 142 of the Electricity Act 2003. But it also reminds the licensee not to test the patience of the commission or else it will most certainly invite the wrath of the commission,” the commission further noted in its order.

The commission also raised concern on the issue that information about large number of consumers was still not available with the discoms. “The commission is anguished and peeved that interest on security deposit, which is being approved by the commission for the past so many years as part of the annual revenue requirement (ARR) is not being credited into the accounts of the consumers on one pretext or the other,” the commission observed.

“Not having information about security deposit status of large chunk of consumers and almost no visible effort to rectify the situation is now not in the zone of monopolistic lackadaisical attitude rather it is criminal on consumers. Even the amount that has been credited in the current financial year has not been provided by MVVNL and PuWNL,” it added.

Observing that the attitude of the licensee (UPPCL/discoms) was the most consumer-insensitive and in total disregard of rules/ regulations, the commission granted one last opportunity by providing three-month time to the discoms to ensure compliance and submit the information on amount of interest on security deposit paid in FY 2021-22, number of consumers who have been paid interest on security deposit along with the amount numbers of consumers who have not been paid interest on security deposit in the past 10 years and treatment of arrear in regard to interest on security deposit that was not paid to the consumers.

The security deposit is the amount that a consumer has to pay to the discom concerned while taking an electricity connection and the amount is refunded once the consumer surrenders the connection permanently. The amount depends on the nature and number of kws (kilowatts) of the connection. Under the rules, discoms must pay interest annually on the security deposit at the prevailing bank rate or above.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Brajendra K Parashar is a Special Correspondent presently looking after agriculture, energy, transport, panchayati raj, commercial tax, Rashtriya Lok Dal, state election commission, IAS/PCS Associations, Vidhan Parishad among other beats.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022