Hyderabad

Development charge is the latest bogeyman in power bills

The government High School in Barkatpura consumed 759 units of power during the month of June, and was charged Rs.4,956.26 as energy charges for the same, which is normal. However, the total amount due, shown at the bottom of the bill, makes the heart skip a beat, at Rs.27,569!

Scrutiny of the bill reveals that a predominant portion of the billed amount, Rs.19,600, is shown under the head ‘development charges’, which would largely go unnoticed otherwise. Further, Rs.9,370 is shown as additional consumption deposit arrears!

The Southern Power Distribution Company of Telangana (TSSPDCL), starved of funds owing to the delay in fixation of tariff for the current year, is apparently searching for new ways to tax the customers and development charges are the latest instance.

Development charges are collected to recover the cost of laying power lines and are usually fixed for each consumer based on the contracted loads. As of now, for every single kilo watt of energy requires payment of Rs.1,200. While as a rule, the loads should be contracted based on the number of electricity appliances and connections in a household or commercial establishment, it is often violated.

“For a single-phase connection, 2 KW is the minimum load to be contracted, and for a three-phase, a minimum of 3 KW. However, nowadays, consumers are connecting up to 6 KW of loads on a single KW of contracted load,” explains an engineer from the TSSPDCL.

No awareness

The end consumers are usually no aware of the technical details, or of the violation, as the power connections are most often obtained by builders or contractors, who contract lesser loads in order to save money. However, the company has been condoning such anomalies for a long time, especially when they are from LT consumers. Not any more.

“We have been asked to inspect LT commercial and a few domestic connections too for connected loads. Wherever connected loads are more than contracted loads, additional development charges are being levied,” informed an official.

And, if there is considerable difference between the two, additional consumption deposit is charged as one-time security deposit.

“Quite a few schools have approached me with exorbitant power bills, showing huge component of development charges. Such charges may be recovered from private and commercial establishments, but how can government schools pay such bills from their meagre maintenance grant of Rs.20,000 to Rs.30,000 per annum?” asks Amberpet legislator G. Kishan Reddy.


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Printable version | Feb 14, 2022 5:03:01 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad//article60435433.ece