Noida entrepreneurs raise objections as discom serves advance electricity bills
NOIDA: To meet its revenue target for the current fiscal, the Pashchimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (PVVNL), has served electricity bills in advance for the month of March to nearly 10,000 entrepreneurs in the district who have commercial or industrial power connections. The discom has also made it clear that in case of non-payment, connections will be snapped.
Usually, the discom issues the monthly bills after the end of the month, on the basis of units consumed. So for instance, for power consumed during February, the bill would be sent in the first few days of March, and the last date would be the last date of March. This time, however, the bill has been sent for February as well as for March, and the last date of payment is March 31, 2021.
Kulmani Gupta, president of the Noida chapter of Indian Industries Association (IIA), alleged that the power supply company has been “targeting” Noida entrepreneurs since long. “Does the responsibility of the discom meeting its fiscal target rest with entrepreneurs? On one hand, businessmen struggle to file their taxes to save themselves from being blacklisted by the government while on the other, power companies target them in order to catch up with their revenue targets. We’ve raised this issue with the government to save Noida entrepreneurs, who have already suffered huge losses due to the lockdown,” he said.
He added that how the advance bill has been calculated is beyond him as it is more than the monthly bill usually raked by a respective enterprise per month.
“Even their calculation method for advance bills is not uniform. For the advance bill for the month of March, they have added a little more than the amount of bill for February,” Gupta said.
Officials, meanwhile, maintained that serving advance electricity bills to entrepreneurs is not a new phenomenon. “We have been sending advance electricity bills in the month of March every year to these (commercial) consumers since the past five years. Advance bills were issued even in March 2020, but the discom withdrew it due to lockdown last year,” Virendra Nath Singh, the PVVNL’s (Noida division) chief engineer, said.
The PVVNL has over 2.5 lakh domestic and nearly 50,000 commercial/ industrial consumers.
He further said that since the PVVNL has to meet the stipulated target of collecting revenue of ₹400 crore, it has issued advance bills to nearly 10,000 commercial consumers. “The advance bill given to them varies between ₹5,000 and ₹5 lakh, which is not very whopping or unusual, considering their monthly consumption. Also, we have made clear that all advance amounts paid will be compensated in the electricity bills of April 2021,” the chief engineer said, adding that no advance bill has been issued to any domestic consumer in the district.
When contacted, state energy minister Shrikant Sharma confirmed that the matter has come to his knowledge. “I’ll look into it and after discussion with officials, an amicable solution to this problem will be given by the government,” he said.
Surendra Nahata, the chairman of the Noida Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs’ Association (MSMEA), said that the discom issues such advance bills every year, with the warning of disconnection. “However, officials finally make it optional. The disconnection drive has never taken place over non-payment of advance bills. This year, too, it is not going to happen as the matter has been brought to the notice of the government,” he said.