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No plan to privatise power distribution: UP government

The UP government said there was no plan to privatise electricity distribution even as the state’s power engineers have threatened to go on strike if the government goes ahead with its move to hand over seven districts to private players in the name of integrated service provider scheme.

lucknow Updated: Feb 06, 2018 13:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
UP government,Privatise power,Power distribution

The UP government on Monday said there was no plan to privatise electricity distribution even as the state’s power engineers have threatened to go on strike if the government goes ahead with its move to hand over seven districts to private players in the name of integrated service provider scheme.

“The media reports about the government planning to privatise the power distribution system in certain areas are not correct,” principal secretary, energy, and UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) chairman Alok Kumar said.

“What we are doing in certain loss-ridden circles/clusters is that we are introducing integrated service provider scheme under which the commercial activities like issuing electricity connections, raising bills and collecting dues will be outsourced,” he said.

The bill revision activity, he clarified, will not be outsourced and that incorrect bills, if any, will be revised by the executive engineers only.

Kumar said there was nothing about the scheme since many of commercial activities were already outsourced to various companies. “Under the proposed scheme, we will integrate those services outsourcing them to some big and reputed companies,” he said.

He said UPPCL was trying various models to increase its revenue collection and improve consumer services. The integrated service provider scheme was just part of that goal. He said the department staff will also be given cash incentive.

The engineers, on the other hand, are not convinced by the government’s arguments and they suspect a bigger privatization move. Their delegation on Monday met secretary, energy and UPPCL managing director Aparna Upadhayaya expressing their apprehensions.

“We have asked to the management to recall the tenders already floated for outsourcing in seven districts within a week, failing which we will announce an agitation,” Abhiyanta Sangh general secretary Rajeev Kumar said.

UP Rajya Vidyut Upbhokta Parishad president Awadhesh Kumar filed a petition in the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC), requesting it to ask the UPPCL to withdraw its decision on outsourcing circles in seven districts.

The government has identified around half-a-dozen such divisions for the purpose of handing them over to private companies under the new scheme named integrated service provider. The circles where the new project will be introduced in the first phase include Orai, Etawah, Kannauj under Agra discom, Rae Bareli under Lucknow discom, Saharanpur under Meerut discom and Balia and Mau under Varanasi circles.

Agra discom even floated tenders for the same on Saturday, alarming engineers and consumer bodies.

First Published: Feb 06, 2018 13:53 IST