Power bill collections less than 25% across State

The payment of power bills by domestic consumers for March, which expired on Wednesday, was abysmally low, thanks to the impact of coronavirus and lockdown. Senior power officials said the collections State-wide were less than 25%.

The two power distribution companies in the State had appealed to the electricity regulator to be allowed to stop their metre readers from visiting houses and take the readings on apprehensions that it may create disharmony between owners and the visiting staff over fears of transmission of the virus. Therefore, they proposed that the bills of March last year (2019) be held good for now and the payment mode be made online by various platforms. For new connections post-March last year, the bill of February this year will apply. The excess or shortfall in payments will be adjusted in subsequent months bills.

In the absence of physical reading of meters and door delivery of bills, the regulator while conceding the request of Discoms directed them to text the bill amount to the registered phone numbers of consumers. But, many of them did not get the messages though the bill amount was uploaded against their unique numbers on the websites of respective Discoms.

Senior officials said the collections were about 25% of normal in Southern Power Distribution Company limits comprising erstwhile districts of Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Medak, Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda and part of Nizamabad and 22.5% in Northern Power Distribution Company limits covering the rest of the State.

Power demand

The power demand from domestic sector in SPDCL was ₹ 623 crore every month, including receivables from government establishments. The same was ₹ 203.30 crore in NPDCL. There were 1.11 crore domestic services in the State, constituting 74.59% of total services which also include commercial, industrial, agricultural and other low tension users.

The officials ruled out disconnecting services for non-payment as it involved field staff visiting houses which was already given a go by. But, postponement of payment could be considered for some more time in view of the present circumstances with a late fee.

The Hindu
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