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Home News Power Sector News UP Power discom ropes in private company to tackle consumers

UP Power discom ropes in private company to tackle consumers

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UPIn a move, which could be described as first of its kind, the Madhyanchal distribution company has decided to rope in private agencies to bring to book erring power consumers of Lucknow. Be it disconnection of power supply for non-payment of bills, recovering arrears or even checking the electricity metres, the agencies would be empowered to set things straight for a revenue starved discom.

The initiative comes close on the heels of the one adopted by the Delhi government, where in New Delhi Power Limited and BSES roped in private agencies to do the job for them.

Come February 11 and Madhyanchal would call a pre-bid conference where in some of the companies in the business would approach the state power utility. "The scope will cover monitoring of all disconnected consumers and those connected consumers of Lesa, who have not made payments after March 31, 2010," said the tender document floated by Madhyanchal.

Managing director, Madhyanchal, Partha Sarthi Sen Sharma, when contacted said, "It is not that Lesa would stop working. But this would be an added advantage for the distribution company."

Sources said that in Lucknow alone, arrears have piled up to the tune of nearly Rs 1500 crore. Officials however, insist that a major portion of this comprise fictitious arrears. "At times there is no consumer at the spot. But billing is being done. As a result arrears get further piled up projecting an astronomically high figure. We therefore need to check this," Sharma said.

Officials however are still unsure of the magnitude of the fictitious arrears, which by all standards are scary enough to haunt the utility. Sharma said that the arrears for Lucknow may not be as that high as Rs 1500 crores. "It would be far lesser," he said. Officials, however, admit that power pilferage has done an irreparable damage. In fact, the UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) was forced to come up with one time settlement (OTS) scheme repeatedly in an attempt to nullify the negative effect of the ever rising arrears.

In a way, the company would do an exhaustive survey for the discom. "This would give us the precise figure of the number of actual consumers and those with pending bills against them," he said. The company would be on an annual contract.

According to the tender document, the company would also take a feedback from the consumer in case of a dispute. It would also take up the case of bill correction. The company would forward the disputed bill to the concerning executive engineer of the respective division, who would address the problem within a period of three days. At the same time, the contractor of the company would also maintain a record of the disputed bills and those solved.

The scope of the work would also extend to keep vigilance on unauthorised tapping by disconnected consumers. For this the discom would provide commission to the agency per case.

Madhyanchal, meanwhile, has also tied up with an Udaipur-based company for getting meters of the consumers checked for a possible tampering. Sharma said that the company would be given a target of covering 3000 consumers per month.

Source - Times of India


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