Emboldened by Yogi fiat, UPPCL takes fresh initiative for meters at power staff’s homes
Although treading cautiously, the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) management has again taken the initiative of asking distribution companies (discoms) to start installing energy meters on premises of state’s around one lakh (one million) power employees
.At present, power employees have the privilege of consuming unmetered and unlimited electricity against nominal fixed monthly charges.
This time, the management has taken refuge in chief minister Yogi Adiyanath’s directions that asked the authorities to fix a limit to power consumption by the power employees and take action against those who did not fall in line.
In a fresh letter dated November 23, the UPPCL chief engineer (commercial) has asked all discoms to ensure compliance with the chief minister’s instructions on installation of meters at the power employees’ residences. He has also referred to a letter written in this regard earlier by the principal secretary, energy, in October.
The CM, as mentioned in the letter, during a meeting on August 16, directed the energy department officials: “Meters be installed at departmental staff (premises) and a maximum limit to power consumption be fixed.” The directive came after he found UPPCL’s revenue recovery to be unsatisfactory.
UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC), in its tariff order on September 3, also directed UPPCL to start installing meters at power employees and pensioners’ premises with immediate effect to comply with the Electricity Act, 2003 that did not permit unmetered supply of electricity to consumers of any category.
The commission also directed UPPCL to submit a progress report to it every month and warned of action against the corporation in case of non-compliance with its directions.
Sources, however, said no meter had been installed at any employee or pensioner’s premises due to resistance from the employees’ unions.
“UP remains the country’s only state where power men get unmetered and unaccounted for electricity,” sources said.
On Wednesday also, some power engineers and employees were seen posting the recent letter on the social media platforms and expressing apprehensions that the government had plans for privatisation of the sector.
As per a rough estimate by UPPCL itself, power employees consume around 800 million units of power annually. They pay fixed monthly charges as determined by the regulator.
“For example, an executive engineer pays Rs 500 per month and an additional Rs 660 per air-conditioner, if declared at all, for three months in summer,” they said, adding, “Many of the highly-paid engineers pay less than BPL consumers. Some of them have even been caught misusing the facility by selling electricity to tenants or neighbours.
UPERC has been saying that the employees must first get meters installed at their premises for accounting of energy they consume and the department may propose a rebate in their tariff later if it so wishes.”