Dupe consumers, jack up revenue
THE UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) continues to invent novel and easy ways, though illegal, for increasing its revenue collection. Officials do not believe in increasing revenue by controlling the rampant power theft and increasing efficiency? a method which they think is too outdated and painstaking.india Updated: Feb 28, 2006 01:50 IST
THE UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) continues to invent novel and easy ways, though illegal, for increasing its revenue collection. Officials do not believe in increasing revenue by controlling the rampant power theft and increasing efficiency— a method which they think is too outdated and painstaking.
Following the footsteps of the Lucknow discom, whose one over-enterprising DGM had recently ordered (the illegal order had to be withdrawn later) conversion of all 1 and 2 kw load connections into 3 kw load in Lucknow so that more revenue could be collected by way of fixed charges payable at the rate of Rs 50 per kw, the Agra discom has gone a step further.
In an outrageous move, the Agra Distribution Company officials have made modifications in the computer software itself, used for printing electricity bills to illegally collect more revenue and have a pat for ‘good revenue recovery’, during review meetings by the Chief Minister. The UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) has taken a serious view of this and issued notice to the management.
A UPERC team led by chairman, Vijoy Kumar was flooded with complaints when it visited Agra and met a delegation of the National Chamber of Industries and Commerce. What the Commission discovered to its utter surprise was that the Agra discom was charging the domestic consumers minimum 80 units per kw even if the energy meter at a consumer’s premises was functional.
For example, a consumer, Shashi Kumar Jain of 4/96 Balugang, Agra has domestic power connection of 20 kw. His meter is all right. But even then he is being charged minimum charges at the rate of 80 units per kw.
This is illegal because as per the tariff fixed by the UPERC, a semi-judicial body, for domestic connection, one is required to pay fix charges and there is no provision for minimum charges and could be billed only on the basis of the actual units recorded by one’s meter and no minimum charges could be recovered from.
But then, Jain is not the only victim. All the domestic consumers are suffering due to the local ‘law’ made by the discom. The officials are said to have made modifications in the software to fleece the innocent consumers. “This is highly objectionable. They cannot tamper with the tariff decided by the regulator,” said UPERC chairman Vijoy Kumar. He said the Commission had written to the Agra discom management seeking an explanation.
Besides, industry representatives also alleged that the Agra discom was raising bills against domestic connections for minimum 2 kw load causing gross injustice to small consumers having connection of 1 kw on record. They also complained that all the LMV-2 connections had been converted into LMV –6 category and the Small Scale Industries (SSIs) were not being given power connections.
When contacted, MD, Agra discom, Kripal Singh said the minimum charges had been withdrawn. He said only those consumers were being charged minimum charges whose meters were defective.