Electricity bill paying consumers to suffer as Punjab govt department fails to clear power bills
Kanwar Inder Singh/ royalpatiala.in
Punjab state power corporation limited is passing through a grim phase as on one hand the incumbent government is not releasing the previous pending power subsidy and on the other hand the government departments are not clearing their pending power bills amounting to hundred of cores of rupees.
As per Punjab state power corporation limited (PSPCL) officials, the government departments are the major defaulters of electricity bills. As per August 2022 figures more than Rs 2,400 crore power bills are pending against them, which are further increasing day by day.
An officer on the condition of anonymity said “old, pending subsidy bill of Rs 9,020 crore is still pending, which the Punjab government has yet to release. The present government is clearing the subsidy bills of their term. They are not clearing the previous pending subsidy bill, causing the financial burden to the powercom.”
As per available information Rs 1,068 crore power bill is pending against the department of water supply and sanitation, Rs 774 crore against the department of local government, Rs 264 crore are pending against rural development and panchayats, Rs 106 crore towards health and family welfare departments, Rs 2.50 crores are pending towards transport department, Rs 73 crores towards sewerage board, Rs 27 crore towards irrigation department , Rs 20 towards home department, Rs 10 crores towards public works department , Rs 9 crores are pending towards revenue and rehabilitation department. Rs 9 crores towards school education department, Rs 8 towards general administration department, Rs 3 crores towards animal husbandry, fisheries department, Rs 2.50 crores are pending towards transport department.
As per available information maximum Punjab government defaulter departments are in west zone where Rs 682 crores is pending. In border zone Rs 676 crore, in south zone Rs 656 crore, in north zone Rs. 259 crores and in central zone Rs. 128 crores are pending towards state government departments.
PSEB Engineer Association general secretary Er Ajay Pal Singh Atwal said, “every organisation runs on finances. PSPCL is a life line of the state. The government should release the sufficient amount to the all the departments with a clear instruction to clear their outstanding electricity bills in a timely manner.” He further added that the state government must allow the Punjab state power corporation limited to launch a one-time settlement scheme for the defaulting departments as this will be a win-win position for PSPCL and the defaulting departments. ”
Another senior functionary said “if the government departments pay their pending bills this will reduce the cost of power and will benefit the consumers, directly. Moreover, the power subsidy is going to increase to 18,000 crore by March 31,2023 as the pending subsidy bills of previous government amounting to Rs 9,020 crore is still pending and after adding this year default subsidy the amount might touch 18000 crore by the end of this fiscal year. With this the power tariff will be increased and will put extra burden on the bill paying consumers.’
Electricity bill paying consumers to suffer as Punjab govt department fails to clear power bills. On this issue when contacted the state power minister Harbhajan Singh ETO, the person attending his phone said “minister sahib is busy in meeting with the SDM’s reviewing the ongoing NHAI project.”