Power consumers can enjoy the convenience of paying electricity bills anytime and anywhere through their mobile phones via Airtel Money.
The service is possible because of a tie-up between North Bihar Power Distribution Company Ltd (NBPDCL) and Airtel.
Around 24 lakh consumers of NBPDCL would benefit from the service that was launched on Tuesday in the presence of energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav and M.P. Dipu, the Airtel’s vice-president, sales and marketing, Bihar and Jharkhand.
The service would soon be extended to consumers of South Bihar Power Distribution Company Ltd, its managing director Palka Sahni said. Sources said the service would start in a month from now.
Energy department secretary and chairman-cum-managing director of Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd Sandeep Poundrik, Bihar State Power Generation Company Ltd managing director Anand Kishor, Bihar State Power Transmission Company Ltd managing director Sanjay Kumar Singh, NBPDCL managing director Sanjay Agrawal and other senior officers and engineers were present at the occasion.
Speaking at the launch, energy minister Yadav praised power companies for using technology to provide facilities and also to keep pace with the fast-changing lifestyle.
Yadav asked the power company officers to introduce concessions for consumers who want to make advance bill payments. Reiterating the chief minister’s commitment to provide power to every household by 2015, the minister said: “We are fully confident of providing power to farmers, industries and to every household by 2015. There would be surplus power by the end of 2017-18.”
Expressing satisfaction over power generation, he said it is not an issue for the government rather it is the distribution, which has become a problem for the state but the government is working on it to strengthen it by investing Rs 5,000 crore on the sector.
Sanjay Agrawal, the managing director of NBPDCL where the cellphone service has been launched, said the consumers, at present, had to travel 10km to 15km to pay bills. In some far-flung areas, consumers had to cover a distance of 30km.
Airtel’s Bihar-Jharkhand vice-president Dipu said: “Mobile is no longer a tool to communicate. Rather it has become a tool to provide so many facilities to the subscriber. We have put your wallet in your mobile phone, which you can use for multiple purposes like paying LIC premiums and other utility bills. Power bill payment through cellphones takes less than a minute to complete the transaction.”
Explaining that anyone could deposit his/her bill using an Airtel number via Airtel Money, Dipu said even a person, who does not have an Airtel connection, can deposit the energy bill using someone else’s Airtel number. “The person who does not have Airtel connection and using someone else’s mobile phone will have to furnish his/her own mobile number so that he/she may receive the transaction ID of the bill payment,” he added.