Delay by discoms in fixing snag worries power consumers in Bihar

Published on Aug 26, 2021 09:45 PM IST

A snag in one of the two billing servers on July 30 has not only crippled generation of energy bills, but also disrupted online payments partially.

The engineers have been able to fix the problem only partially. (Representative image)
The engineers have been able to fix the problem only partially. (Representative image)
By, Patna

Around 18 lakh power consumers in the state will feel the financial burden of having to pay their combined energy bills of July and August next month.

A snag in one of the two billing servers on July 30 has not only crippled generation of energy bills, but also disrupted online payments partially.

A team of software engineers from New Delhi have been camping here for the last three weeks as they grapple to fix the bug, which has hit both the discoms in the state — the north and the south Bihar power distribution companies limited (NBPDCL & SBPDCL).

“We expect to rectify the snag this week and shall resume generation of energy bills from September 1,” said Sanjiwan Sinha, managing director of the SBPDCL.

“Online payments are now possible, allowing consumers to make advance payment, which they were unable to do earlier. The advance amount will be adjusted against their next energy bill, after the problem is resolved,” said Sinha.

The engineers have been able to fix the problem only partially.

Online advance payments through mobile applications — Suvidha and Bihar Bijli Bill Pay — are still not possible. Online bill payment through the portal of the two discoms is also not fully functional.

The payment portal of the two discoms has not been updated. As a result, it shows arrears in case of many consumers who have already paid their bills for June.

“The SBPDCL portal showed an outstanding amount of 3,100 (approx.) for June despite the fact that I had paid my energy bill on July 8, well before the payment due date of July 23,” said Sushant Kumar, a domestic subscriber (consumer account number 101004351) of New Patliputra Colony in Patna.

Suresh Narayan Lall, a retired electrical engineer and domestic subscriber (consumer account number 101109023), residing at Patna’s Bahadurpur Housing Colony, said the SBPDCL portal showed an arrear of 1,300 (approx.) against his energy bill generated in June that he had already paid.

Kumar and Lall were able to make advance payment of of 5001 and 5,000, respectively, through the SBPDCL portal on Wednesday.

Dr Sandeep Sen of Sen Diagnostics, however, wasn’t lucky enough. He was unable to pay advance money through the SBPDCL portal for the three energy metres (consumer numbers 100841141, 100833773 and 100842272) installed on his premises at Patna’s Budh Marg, under the New Dak Bungalow electrical division of the Patna Electrical Supply Undertaking.

“I have been trying repeatedly for the last one week but am unable to make an advance lump-sum payment for my energy bill of July. I get different messages on the portal. Initially, it said ‘error retrieving bill details, please try again’. Today, it said the consumer number is not registered with the SBPDCL,” said Dr Sen.

The NBPDCL and the SBPDCL, however, claimed that payments were smooth through their respective portals.

“Total 194 (online) payments were received today till now. Team is constantly monitoring the same,” read a text message from a senior officer in the NBPDCL.

Payment collection data till 1pm on Wednesday, shared by another senior officer in the SBPDCL, claimed 2,053 online transactions led to realisation of 30.79 lakh in urban areas while 5,894 transactions led to remittance of 73.30 lakh in rural areas.

Chaturbhuj Mishra, SBPDCL chief data based administrator, the officer tasked to resolve the crisis and facing the heat for delay, did not respond phone calls and text messages.

SBPDCL managing director, however, allayed fears of delayed payment surcharge being levied for late payment of energy bills for previous months during the period of the snag.

“The bill pay-by-date has been extended till August 31 for consumers whose payment due date was between July 30 and August 15. They will also be allowed rebate for timely payment, which will reflect in their next energy bill. All adjustments will be done in the next bill of consumers who have paid in excess of the billed amount,” said Sinha.

The snag has affected around 7 lakh power consumers under the NBPDCL and 11 lakh under the SBPDCL across 63 towns in 35 of the 38 districts of Bihar, excluding Muzaffarpur, Gaya and Bhagalpur.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ruchir writes on health, aviation, power and myriad other issues. An ex-TOI, he has worked both on Desk and in reporting. He over 25 years of broadcast and print journalism experience in Assam, Jharkhand & Bihar.

SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, February 05, 2023
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals