Home ECONOMY After Reliance exit, Odisha govt wakes up to ‘transparent’ billing

After Reliance exit, Odisha govt wakes up to ‘transparent’ billing

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 5:

Taking note of faulty power billing resulting in arrear dues of Rs 900 crore on Nesco consumers and Rs 600 crore on Southco consumers, the Odisha government has decided to ensure a transparent billing process.

Pic Courtesy; thehindu.com
Pic Courtesy; thehindu.com

The Energy department has decided that the power bill collector, while preparing the bill of the consumers, would take the photo of the power metre mentioning the number of units. Later, the bill amount would be collected from the consumers after checking the actual power units shown in the bill with the units from the photo of the metre.

Apart from this, there will be a bill collection counter in each village where the consumers can pay their bills on the specified day.

It may be mentioned that the state government has entrusted the management of Wesco, Nesco and Southco to Grid Corporation of Odisha (GRIDCO) after revoking the licenses of these three distribution companies (Discoms) managed by Reliance Infra on March 4 this year.

The Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) has entrusted the GRIDCO managing director the responsibility to oversee the management of the three Discoms.

The Energy department, in the meanwhile, has reviewed the status of the three Discoms.

The review has revealed that though about 50 percent of power billing was not made in the Nesco and Southco areas, there has been collection of about 90-95 percent of the total billing.

“Considering such irregularities, it has been decided that the electricity staff would henceforth be relieved of all business activities and be made accountable to quality service to the consumers and uninterrupted power supply”, Energy secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra said.

He said the collection of power bills and verification of power metres would be outsourced. For preparation of power bills, separate agencies would be engaged which would open counters in each village for collection of bill.

Besides, the staff strength would be increased at the sub division level for checking of power metres, he said. The squad will check the power metres and replace the defunct ones.

“It has been decided that the performance of the outsourcing agencies engaged earlier would be reviewed with some amendments in the conditions the department had made with them,” the Energy secretary informed.

He also said the power would be disconnected if the bill is unpaid for which a particular agency would be entrusted.

However, the consumers, who have not paid their arrear bill, would be allowed to pay the amount in instalments, he said.

“From now on, the executive engineers of the Energy department would be asked to meet their target in a specified time frame while there will be a regular review of the works of all the engineers, including the junior engineers”, Mohapatra said.

He also informed that the aforesaid rules have been implemented on pilot basis at eight feeders of Nesco where the billing has gone up to 35 percent.