Power defaulters owe Rs.260 mn in Chandigarh
Dec 18, 2007, 6:07 GMT
Chandigarh, Dec 18 (IANS) The Punjab and Haryana civil secretariat - the joint seat of power in the governments of the two states - faces the threat of power disconnection if bills to the tune of Rs.8 million to Chandigarh's electricity department are not paid soon.
The secretariat building is one of the 30,000 power defaulters that have failed to pay outstanding dues to the electricity department. Collectively, the defaulters owe over Rs.260 million to the power department.
All the defaulters are being served a 15-day notice this week to recover dues or face disconnection, a Chandigarh administration spokesman said here.
'Taking serious note of the outstanding amount and the fact that the defaulters enjoy the benefit of electricity at the cost of other consumers, it was decided to disconnect electricity supply to all defaulter premises if the dues are not cleared in 15 days,' said Vivek Atray, Chandigarh's director of public relations.
Power connections of over 10,000 out of the 30,000 listed defaulters have already been disconnected for non-payment. The amounts due from such consumers will be recovered through appropriate courts. People getting new connections in new names will also face disconnection till earlier dues are settled, electricity officials said.
But major defaulters like the secretariat building (Rs.8 million), Chandigarh's municipal corporation (Rs.5.1 million), Punjab Police's CID wing (Rs.2.3 million), shutdown fast-food joint 'Mr Burger' - owned by former central minister and Bahujan Samaj Party leader Harmohan Dhawan - ( Rs.1.6 million) and Second Foundation (Rs.400,000) are being served notices for disconnection.
The union territory of Chandigarh, which is considered a model city in power distribution and utilisation, fulfils the needs of its one million residents by purchasing power from other states, as it has no source of power generation of its own.
Supplying power at an average rate of just Rs.3 per unit for domestic consumers, the Chandigarh administration has been purchasing power for as high as Rs.7 per unit.
In the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana, electricity is supplied to domestic consumers at a much higher rate of Rs.4-5 per unit.
The peak demand for power in summer touches 300 MW while the lean period demand, particularly in winter, is just 160 MW. Despite a lot of power being illegally stolen by slum-dwellers though 'kundi' connections, electricity officials claim that transmission losses have been brought down from 26 percent in 2004 to 18 percent in 2007.
© 2007 Indo-Asian News Service