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Grant fails to beat board loss

Bihar State Electricity Board chairman P.K. Rai on Wednesday said the board was incurring a loss of Rs 3.6 crore a day despite getting a monthly financial support of Rs 225 crore from the state.

The board gets a monthly grant of Rs 180 crore, besides an additional amount of Rs 40 to 45 crore, from the state government for purchasing power from the open market under short- and medium-term programmes.

Stating that the boards monthly average revenue collection stood at Rs 250 crore as against Rs 122-124 crore a couple of years ago, Rai said: The board is incurring a loss of Rs 110 crore a month (Rs 3.6 crore a day) despite our effort to increase the collection.

The chairman said: The outstanding amount is Rs 6,000 crore. This includes dues from various government departments and agencies and private households. The government departments and its agencies owe 18-20 per cent of the total dues.

A top board official, however, put the dues of government departments and its agencies at 50 per cent (Rs 3,000 crore). Making it clear that a chunk of the dues constitutes delayed payment surcharge, he said the government has agreed to adjust it against the loan and interest advanced by the state to the power board.

Rai attributed power theft, households without electric meters, litigation by private consumers where courts have stayed the realisation, non-realisation of revenue from disconnected households and tardy pace of disconnecting supply to defaulters as some of the factors contributing to the revenue loss.

Of the 33 lakh consumers, one-third doesnt have meters. The board has taken a challenge to install meters in all such households by March 2013. The board would also try to update its website with more information, the chairman added.

On why the board has not received any response from Essar Power that has been appointed the distribution franchisee for Patna, Rai said: We have issued a letter of intent to Essar Power. But we have not received any response from them (Essar) till date.

Essar Power was to respond to the boards letter of intent within 15 days, but the deadline expired on Saturday. Rai justified the awarding of franchisee to Essar despite it being the sole bidder. There is no violation of rule because Essars bid was above the response price, he added.

On the Japan International Cooperation Agency teams visit to the Barauni thermal plant, Rai said the delegate made a physical verification of the site and was satisfied with the boards detailed project report for setting up of a 250MW replacing two units of 50MW.

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