Private Schools, Power Department At The Receiving End Of Consumers’ Ire

IMPHAL, Apr 12: All Manipur Power Consumers’ Association has accused the Electricity Department of charging more than the due amount of power bill from the consumers and yet not ensuring regular or proper power supply.

On the other hand, some private schools are allegedly imposing Electricity fees on the students.

Addressing a press conference in this connection at Manipur Press Club here today, Association president S Chaoba asserted that even though the Electricity Department may be conducting a drive to collect due power tariff from the consumers, disconnecting the power line of unauthorized consumers and arresting them and sending them to jail under the provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003, the root cause of the problem lies in the failure of the Department itself.

The bill clerks of the Department never prepare the bills to dispatch among the consumers and none of the staff actually visit the houses of the consumers to read the power meter. Instead, the bills are prepared on the table, Chaoba alleged, while questioning how the consumers are supposed to clear the bill in time in such a situation.

Chaoba pointed out that there are cases, where the consumers receive the accumulated figure of the bill for 2/3 months together and the staff not coming to check the power meter for years. The staff of the Department should prepare the bill in accordance with the reading on the power meter and after proper survey of the connected load.

If the power bills are to be prepared on the table, what is the purpose of installing the power reading meters; he questioned and further demanded to know the rationale behind imposition of a flat rate to all the consumers, irrespective of their financial position.

It is also questionable why a flat rate of Rs 410 is to be charged from every consumer in a month despite daily loading shedding, Chaoba said.

Asserting that the problems being faced by the consumers are the creation of the Electricity Department itself, Chaoba further pointed out that imposition of surcharge is the main reason behind increase in the amount of the electricity bills of the alleged defaulted consumers.

Imposition of 2 percent of the due monthly power bill as surcharge may not be a large amount. But imposing surcharge over the due amount of a month in the due bill amount of subsequent months is bound to increase the due amount, he added.

Furthermore, Chaoba asserted that ‘no due certificate’ of Electric bill should not have any connection with payment of salaries to the Government employees. No due certificate can be easily available even from a Pan Dukan and the Association has sufficient proofs in this regard. The money generated from selling no due certificate is a big business in Manipur today.

Instead giving wrong impression to others on the power consumers as people who are not willing to clear their bill on time, the Chief Engineer of the Department should ensure that the power bills are dispatch to the consumers every month on time, defecting power transformers are repaired/replaced immediately or else pay compensation to the consumers, if the same could not be repaired/replaced for more than 3 days. In case of power line snapping, it should be repaired within 3 hours.

On the other hand, the Association has found out that at least five private schools have been charging fee against electricity from the students, Chaoba disclosed.

However, he declined to name the schools. But said that Rs 200 is being charged as Electricity fee from the students.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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