As part of its efforts to popularise online payment of electricity bills, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) has started sending circulars to various banks with data to increase the number of transactions through online mode.
It has also instructed its field officers to increase awareness among consumers about the alternate mode of payment. According to the data, which compares the numbers of transactions and amount collected between January and May, customers paying electricity bills through net banking is the most popular method in the State.
Rs.332.98 crore was collected through online payments in May against Rs.148.74 crore in January 2015 across Tamil Nadu. While the transactions through online payments have increased, the number of offline transactions through post offices has decreased by 11,824 and Any Time Payment (ATP) machines by 1,049.
The total transactions though post offices in January was 1,65,854 and it came down to 1,54,030 in May.
T. Sadagopan, a consumer activist from Pattabiram, attributed lack of dedicated counters at post offices to accept payments in addition to collecting a service charge for each bill as reasons for the decrease in the number of transactions.
Though the data of TANGEDCO shows a decline in bill payment through post offices, postal department officials say there has been an increase in payment through their offices in the past one year, at least in Chennai city region.
To encourage more postal customers to use the facility, the department plans to canvass about the service through postmen and postwomen.
At present, the postal department collects a service charge of Rs.5 for bill up to Rs.1,000; Rs.10 for bill between Rs.1,001 and Rs. 2,500. The charge for bills between Rs.2,501 and Rs.5,000 is Rs.15 and bills above Rs.5,000 attract charge of Rs.20.
Mervin Alexander, Postmaster General (CCR), said online payment of bills is also catching up among consumers.
"We follow a different arrangement of service charge collection for BSNL wherein the telecom company pays the charges. TANGEDCO could also go for a similar arrangement," he said.
Source- The Hindu