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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

UP: 1/3 prepaid power consumers have not recharged meter for months

Around one-third of electricity consumers using prepaid electricity meters in Uttar Pradesh have not bothered to recharge their connections for months.

lucknow Updated: Jun 07, 2019 15:46 IST
Brajendra K Parashar
Brajendra K Parashar
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
The shocking revelation comes at a time when the Centre has asked all states government to replace all postpaid power connections with prepaid ones by 2021.
The shocking revelation comes at a time when the Centre has asked all states government to replace all postpaid power connections with prepaid ones by 2021.(Representative image)
         

Around one-third of electricity consumers using prepaid electricity meters in Uttar Pradesh have not bothered to recharge their connections for months.

The shocking revelation comes at a time when the Centre has asked all states government to replace all postpaid power connections with prepaid ones by 2021.

The expose is all the more significant considering that many feel that chargeable prepaid electricity meters are the ultimate solution to the theft of electricity, low revenue recovery, inflated bills and difficulties in disconnecting defaulters’ supply etc.

These consumers, it is suspected, are drawing electricity illegally bypassing their prepaid meters after their connections might have got automatically disconnected after they exhausted limit and did not go for the fresh recharge.

The UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) has identified as many as 4,180 prepaid power consumers who have not recharged their connections for more than six months and nearly half of them have not done the recharge for a period spanning for more than a year.

This disclosure has been made by UPPCL managing director, Aparna U in a letter written to all discom MDs asking them get a spot inspection done to find out if the prepaid consumers who had not recharged their connections for more than six months were now consuming electricity illegally.

It has been found that as many as 2,416 prepaid consumers have not recharged their power connections for more than a year while 689 consumers have not gone for a recharge for a period ranging between six-nine months and another 1075 consumers have not recharged for nine-12 months.

“An analysis of the billing logic data for the month of February, 2019 shows that 4,180 prepaid consumers have not recharged their connections for six months or more,” she says in her letter addressed to all the discom MDs.

So far, the UPPCL has issued only 16,000 prepaid power connections and all of them are in big cities though the efforts are being made to gradually convert all the postpaid connections into prepaid pones

Giving discom-wise details in her letter, dated May 24, the UPPCL MD has said that under the Agra discom 77 prepaid consumers have not recharged their connections for more than a year, 58 for six-nine months and 62 for nine-12 months.

In the Lucknow discom, 307 such consumers have not recharged their power connections for more than a year, 372 for six-nine months and 397 for nine-12 months. Similarly, 1931 prepaid consumers have not gone for a recharge for more than a year, 144 for six-nine months and 415 for nine-12 months. And 101 prepaid consumers have not recharged their connections for more than a year, 115 for six-nine months and 201 for nine-12 months.

“There a possibility of all these consumers using katias (illegal connections) or bypassing their meters to use electricity,” Aparna told the discom MDs asking them to get a surprise inspection done at the identified prepaid consumers’ premises and take a legal action against them accordingly.

“The plans of installing prepaid meters may only backfire defeating the whole idea if consumers find ways to get electricity without recharging the connections,” a UPPC official said.

He said in case of postpaid connections one or the other staff kept on visiting the consumers’ premises to read meter, check load etc having some check. “But no such vigil is kept on prepaid connections,” he pointed out.