Introducing a unique innovative pre-funded bill collection model, Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Limited (CGPDCL) has come up with Information Technology solution to its consumers to pay their utility bill in their neighborhoods, even in remote areas, thus drastically reducing its operational costs and loss due to non-payments.
"We collect payment of our bills at 1700 retail outlets spread across rural areas in 27 districts where consumers can pay their electricity bills and obtain a legally valid system generated receipts," CGPDL's chief engineer Ashok Kumar said.
"There were instances where a consumer in remote villages had to travel a long distance to pay their bills. Cost of travel to electricity office, many times, was more than the actual bill of a rural household," he said adding that now consumers can pay their bill at IT based "choice" centers, run by state run Chhattisgarh Infotech and Biotech Promotion Society (CHiPS) and retail outlets of Pay Point India, a leading group providing single window for a wide range of services.
State's Power Distribution Company is the first in the country to enter into an arrangement with Pay Point India for innovative pre-paid bill collection model specially designed for electricity boards. Since payment collection from consumers is a major task involving huge costs on account of manpower and infrastructure, Electricity Boards incur costs and loss due to non-payment and interest cost on delayed payment since the money takes one to three days to reach its bank accounts.
As per pre-paid bill collection model, Pay Point maintains an advance or a pre-paid working capital with the electricity board against all bill collections made through its retail networks, set up at different places in almost all the districts across the state.
Elaborating the process, Pay Point India Managing Director Ketan C Doshi told TOI that the firm prefunds a pre-paid balance with Electricity Board. After the customer visits a retailer shop for paying his electricity bill, the retailer enters consumer's account number and mobile number into the retail portal and the information is passed on to electricity board's server on a real time basis to check outstanding amount. After payment, retailer issues a legally valid receipt and also by SMS. He said the retailers, in total, can collect bill payments only to the value of money pre-funded with the Electricity Board.
While the consumers benefit from no extra cost, no queue, hassle free real time transaction with legally valid receipt in their neighborhood, Doshi said the electricity board has a series of benefits-- additional collection counter in rural areas, live transactions and real-time update, low collection cost, online MIS reports, improved cash flow and customer convenience at their door step.
In current collection system, being followed by almost all electricity boards in many states, payments gets delayed while in some cases the collection counters do not exist so the consumers don't pay the bill or pay them later, just in time to avoid disconnection of power, for three months total at the end of the period, he said adding that this pre-paid model saves interest costs besides providing additional working capital to the Electricity Boards.