Although the UP government is considering providing customers with round-the-clock power supply and the proposal to privatize Purvanchal distribution company, UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) data shows that since the day of link, more than 38 per cent of customers have not paid bills.
Through several tweets, the Chairman of UPPCL (UP Power Corporation Limited) and Additional Chief Secretary (Energy) Arvind Kumar provided this information. In this, he said that of 2.83 crore customers, 1.09 crore never paid their bills for electricity. 96 per cent of these come from rural areas. UPPCL sources claim that penalty of Rs 68,000 crore is owed by these customers.
Of these, 43 lakh consumers are from Purvanchal Discom alone. In Purvanchal, as per the results, there are 3.78 lakh customers with an outstanding electricity bill of more than Rs 1 lakh. These statistics reflect the situation of a distribution company.
In his tweets, the chairman also said: “A significant chunk of defaulters may be fraudulent and will need a revision of the bill. It is a major challenge for our officials to identify these customers and figure out what is recoverable and what is not. Power needs to be purchased for UPPCL to be able to supply. We will not have enough finances to buy unless people pay up.”
Sources claim this is a significant reason for the focus of the UP government on privatizing the Purvanchal Distribution Business. The zones of Azamgarh, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Basti, and Prayagraj fall within this region.
A senior UPPCL official said that despite the state government coming up with schemes such as Aasan Kisht Yojana and One Time Settlement Scheme, the situation was waiving the surcharge on consumer bills. Any of the customers could be fake or non-existent, sources said. “Nevertheless, the number of customers who need to be tapped is substantial,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the power engineers of ‘Vidyut Karamchari sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti’ has put forward a detailed plan to improve financial crisis of the UPPCL. The Simiti said we need to work on areas which includes billing system , Revenue collection, measurements to control power theft and promoting better working environment.
MD Suryal Pal Gangwar tried to explain the reason behind the huge number of defaulters. He said, “the figure of 33.45 lakh defaulter is still under scrutiny. We have found data of 2.5 lakh consumers who were issued double bills due to technical error when the data was fed into the system. Most of the defaulters belong to rural areas.