Power fraud: Despite dues, UPPCL gave 685 new connections
Even as energy minister Shrikant Sharma on Monday directed the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) to launch a statewide drive to disconnect power supply of all the consumers above 5 kw load if they have defaulted for two consecutive months, the corporation has lighted upon hundreds of electricity connections that were issued by its officials in gross violation of rules causing huge revenue loss.
This has been found that the engineers issued 685 fresh electricity connections to the same consumers on the premises whose connections were earlier snapped for non-payment of power dues which still existed when the new connections were given to them
Total dues of Rs around Rs 5 crore were pending against these connections which were issued in different parts of the state. The fraud came to the corporation’s notice in March this year prompting it to direct the discom’s managing directors to get each case examined and take action against the guilty.
“Rules are very clear in this regard. No fresh electricity can be provided at the same address where the power dues are already pending,” UP Rajya Vidyut Upbhokta Parishad chairman and state advisory committee member, Awadhesh Kumar Verma said, adding, “These rules are always broken when the dishonest staff and unscrupulous consumers connive to cheat the department.”
While UPPCL managing director, Aparna U could not be contacted for her comments, sources said the corporation or the discoms had not been able to determine accountability in the matter as yet.
She had brought the issue to the notice of the discom MDs through a letter written to them on March 19. “It is to be brought to your knowledge that during the audit of the billing system, as many as 685 new power connections have been found against which there are Rs 4.95 crore dues. But instead of recovering these dues, the officials released new power connections to the same consumers and at the same address,” Aparna U wrote in the letter.
Giving the discom-wise list of such connections, she told the MDs to get each case examined separately ensuring revenue recovery in each of these cases. She also directed the MDs to make their report on the whole matter available to the corporation.
As per the letter, 210 such connections were found under the Agra discom, 125 under Lucknow discom and 175 each under Varanasi and Meerut discoms.
Sources said what has been found during the billing audit may just be a proverbial tip of the iceberg, “there must exist even a far bigger number of electricity connections obtained fraudulently with the connivance of the discoms’ officials,” sources claimed.
Taking an electricity connection, they smoothly, they said was a big deal even today despite one’s fulfilling all the requisite formalities as required under the rules.
“This is interesting that when you request the power staff to relax some norm in giving a connection a poor man’s house whose distance from the pole may be a few meters more than what is laid down, they will most likely explain all the possible laws to you— right from the Electricity Act, 2010 to the Electricity Act 2003 to reject your plea unless, of course, the man is willing to adopt some other channel,” sources alleged.