Other States

Power defaulters in Maharashtra to face disconnection

With power bill arrears in the State touching a whopping ₹63,740 crore by December 2020, the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (Mahadiscom) has issued directions to cut power connections of defaulters.

In a meeting held on Tuesday with the State’s Power Minister Nitin Raut, the Mahadiscom said it would undertake an awareness drive for defaulters and ask them to pay the arrears, failing which their power connections would be cut.

“Mahadiscom has plunged into severe financial crisis. The power bill arrears touched ₹ 63,740 crore in December 2020. The rising arrears have halted day-to-day functioning of the department. Paying salaries and interest on debt has also become difficult. We have to take drastic steps to improve the financial situation of the company,” said a senior official from the State’s Power department.

He said Mahadiscom has to pay power suppliers daily to ensure supply remains uninterrupted.

According to government data, bills worth ₹45,498 crore are unpaid from agriculture pump users while ₹8,485 crore is due from commercial, domestic and industrial customers. The high voltage customers have an arrears of ₹2,435 crore.

“Mahadiscom had decided not to cut power connections from March 2020 to December 2020 due to lockdown condition, despite customers not paying bills,” said the official, adding that this was as per Mr. Raut’s instructions.

“We had given consumers the option of paying arrears in instalments. In addition, there was to be no charge on late payment of bills. Despite that the arrears continued to rise. Therefore. all officials have been instructed to run this campaign in their respective areas,” he added.

Political issue

The matter of inflated power bills during the lockdown months had become a political issue with Opposition parties demanding cancellations of bills and warning that customers should not be threatened with connection cut.

Mr. Raut had then said that the increased usage of power by domestic users due to lockdown had resulted in inflated bills. He had said that the bills will have to be paid and announced a scheme under which it could be paid in instalments.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 2:51:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/power-defaulters-in-maharashtra-to-face-disconnection/article33612579.ece

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