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Updated: April 5, 2012 02:19 IST

Consumers for monthly billing cycle

    T. Ramakrishnan
    R. Srikanth
Comment (13)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
A scene of last-minute rush of domestic consumers to pay power bills in Coimbatore. File Photo
The Hindu
A scene of last-minute rush of domestic consumers to pay power bills in Coimbatore. File Photo

The hike in electricity tariff has revived the demand from several domestic consumers for reverting to the monthly billing cycle from the existing bi-monthly one.

According to this section of consumers, the slab of 501 units and above in two months can very easily be touched, given the present lifestyle and use of more electrical appliances. Under the bi-monthly system, one has to shell more at a given point of time as there is no government subsidy for this sub-category of domestic consumers.

B. Sadagopan, co-ordinator, Tamil Nadu Progressive Consumer Centre, says that when the now-defunct Tamil Nadu Electricity Board launched the bi-monthly billing cycle in 1984, the situation was different.

“Previously, an assessor had to calculate the electricity charges manually which would be time-consuming. After the introduction of hand-held machines, his or her job has become easier and the assessor would be able to cover more consumers per day.”

R. Thangathurai, a keen observer of the State electricity sector, says many of those who come under the sub-category of 501 units and above belong to the middle class and they have modest resources. In months such as June when the people will have other commitments, including the payment of school or college fees for their wards, the power bill can put them under immense stress. If the monthly billing cycle is revived, this will definitely be a huge relief to them.

M. Ashraful, a resident of Tondiarpet, citing the example of the monthly billing by the telephone companies, wants the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) to follow suit.

TANGEDCO's response

An official of the TANGEDCO explains operational difficulties in changing the billing cycle back to the old system.

Under the present bi-monthly billing system, 80 lakh domestic consumers every month remit their dues through 2,700 collection centres.

If the monthly cycle is reverted to, a scenario might emerge in which the entire 1.6 crore consumers would ‘swarm' the collection centres every month and the presence of long serpentine queues would become a common feature in every centre.

Eventually, the domestic consumers would have to undergo hardship every month.

The existing work norms for assessors also have to be taken into account. The old billing system would also result in recruiting 8,000 persons additionally for the post of assessors. This would result in doubling the establishment cost, which would be in the order of Rs. 24 crore to Rs. 30 crore.

Notwithstanding this reply, the domestic consumers want the authorities to be proactive at least in implementing consumer-friendly measures, which, by and large, remain on paper. They recall that the measures such as self-assessment and ATM-like kiosks have not taken off. No adequate publicity has been provided by the Corporation to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission's amendment in September last to the Electricity Supply Code, by allowing those consumers who opt for depositing electricity charges in advance. Such persons would be entitled to interest at the normal bank rate, they say, citing the Commission's decision.

The TANGEDCO official says that his organisation has plans to make payment easier. He also concedes that online payment of power bills has not received much support. It is used by only two to three per cent of the consumers. The Corporation's plan is to increase it to 25 per cent in a few months, for which it will launch an aggressive drive soon. It is a matter of time that State Bank of India will be roped in, the official hopes.

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At WorkSeptember 24, 2010

Frankly speaking, even though the revision in power tariff is going to
bite me marginally, I truly appreciate the brain behind the working
which demands great degree of analysis and planning to fix ceiling of
slabs & the rate to be paid for usage of electricity.

A home without refrigerator, aircon and other electrical appliances
like electric cooker, oven, stove etc will not consume more than 200
units in 2 months. This is the segment which needs to be protected.

A home with 1 or 2 aircon’s that runs for couple of hours and some
electrical appliances used occasionally and bore well motor will
consume less than 500 units in 2 months. Power tariff for this segment
is increased by 50%.

Those who consume > 500 units I presume are living in luxury with
continuous usage of Aircon and other stuff will pay 100 to 150% extra
for the power consumed.

I understand that revision is inevitable and I will now try to keep
the consumption with in 500 slab. At the same time if operational and
adm

from:  Sivakumar.K.B
Posted on: Apr 6, 2012 at 12:08 IST

We are in a awkward position when we cross 500 units in bimonthly cycle.
If only Govt. takes the meter reading every month that too in summer
will relieve our misery. There is all round increase in this month
onwards due to budget and EB.

from:  ramakrishnan
Posted on: Apr 6, 2012 at 11:54 IST

I do not understand why people are not going for ECS payment mode. I do
not think that there will be any middle class person who does not have a
bank account. Payment of Electricity Bill, Telephone Bill, Water Bill
etc can be very easily done by ECS. A bill is always given to the
consumer for verifying the amount. Then it won't matter whether it is
bi-monthly or monthly. People have the old middle class mentality of
standing in the long queue for any payment when it can be done by other
account transfer methods very easily.

from:  vkguptan
Posted on: Apr 6, 2012 at 10:33 IST

If TANGEDCO is unable to revert to billing on a monthly basis, they can still go ahead with the presently practiced bi-monthly system but the calculation should be made on the basis of monthly consumption. In other words, they can collect two months charges, but the same should be divided into two months, and amount collected based on the units consumed for each month. Such a measure will definitely alleviate the sufferings of the consumers to some extent. For example, let us say, a resident consumes 400 units for two months. Tariff must be calculated for each 200 units separately and not for the entire 400 units at a stretch, as is being followed at present. The TANGEDCO adopted bi-monthly billing just to suit its convenience which, on the contrary is a definite shocker for the consumers.

from:  JAYARAMAN V S
Posted on: Apr 5, 2012 at 20:08 IST

Nowadays electricity become most important part of life. there should be two to solve this problem.
1. every month E.B. bill has to be generate
2. E.B. bill as per current procedure, but the total number of units usage should be divide into two part (i.e.) if the total units usage is 582, then each months units is 291.

Govt has to think from the poor class people side, where the earning is not easier these days.

from:  Muneer Basha
Posted on: Apr 5, 2012 at 15:07 IST

Another idea of avoiding the "serpentaine Q", whenever the assessor is assessing the EB Meters he should be authorized to collect cheques(only) as many of the middle class people will defintely have a bankaccounts. 1) This will save time for the assessor 2) This save some quantum of money to the poor tax payer.

from:  Ganesh Ram
Posted on: Apr 5, 2012 at 13:58 IST

TANGEDCO has responded saying it is difficult to implement monthly billing because it will cause crowding/swarming and they would need more staff for conducting monthly assessments. Instead I suggest that they continue with bi-monthly assessment but just "Divide the units consumed by 2" (for each month) and compute total of 2 individual month's bill when they come for their bi-monthly assessment. This only needs a change of calculation in their handheld devices and ensure relief for consumers without any additional effort on TANGEDCO.

from:  Anselm
Posted on: Apr 5, 2012 at 12:57 IST

The EB claim loss due to subsidy given to citizen. Can EB produce a report and publish the current produced and spent? Like of 100% EB produced, X% for Domestic, Y% for industry and so on and map the figure to the revenue generated? Seen may political meeting happening on the road / roadside not sure from where the current is provided for such meetings?.
Arresting all power theft will provide direct benefit to the tax paying citizens.

from:  Thiyagu
Posted on: Apr 5, 2012 at 12:01 IST

foolish to see the comments of TANGDCO that everyone is coming to the counter etc., now they have introduced the online payment also, and since 1 year we are paying the bill through online only as we can't take off to pay the electricity bill. i also have noted earlier that, the EB officers have computer and in one click the bill is generated. The govt. should not be much greedy to suck the money of its citizens., instead it should come with some innovative ideas from payment of bill to the transmission loss., etc..

from:  sayeed
Posted on: Apr 5, 2012 at 11:38 IST

There's no point in asking any of these companies, we have to move the courts to get justice, we cannot be harrased for governments convenience. Monthly billing is the only way out.

from:  xaviersurender
Posted on: Apr 5, 2012 at 11:10 IST

One should also look into why "online payment of power bills has not received much support", while the patronage for many other services are very good. There should be enough publicity about the online remittance method. Most of the young generation is tech-savvy and prefer online remittance. It is a puzzle why it didn't take off for EB!

from:  Murugaraj
Posted on: Apr 5, 2012 at 10:50 IST

The TANGEDCO has been facing serious losses in the recent past. It could
rather increase the ceiling for the existing 501 slab and continue with the bi-monthly billing cycle, as this has forced people to the push-pull scenario of a recurrent power cuts on one side and the hike in tariff on the other. The bi-monthly cycle has only made lives easier, if not for the increasing cost!

from:  Ranjith Kumar
Posted on: Apr 5, 2012 at 09:59 IST

Payments for all utilities like telephone, cell phone,Milk card, bus/train pass, insurance, ration,etc., and disbursal of salary are made in monthly terms, as has been practised time immemorial.
It is an irony as to why the EB authorities alone stick to their stand for bi-monthly system, under the guise of understaff for billing.
Two simple suggestions for Govt/EB Authorities to resolve the issue: 1)Whether the EB employees and officers(incl the Ministers & MLAs) will be satisfied if their salary is paid once in two months, synchronizing with the extant billing cycle, ie to match EB bill receipts bi-monthly. OR 2)Whether the revised tariff will be made applicable for the number of units per month, instead of the number of units as per the current billing pattern(bi-monthly) ie the subsidy element will be applicable upto 500 units per month or 1000 units bi-monthly.

from:  Mythreyi Ajju
Posted on: Apr 5, 2012 at 03:35 IST
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