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Pay power bill sans queues

Standing in long queues to pay electricity bills could soon become a thing of the past for consumers served by Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB) in Dhanbad.

For, two Any Time Payment (ATP) machines were installed by the board at its Hirapur sub-division and Nayabazar offices on Thursday.

Subhash Singh, general manager of Dhanbad Electric Supply Area, JSEB, inaugurated the machine at Hirapur by paying his own electricity bill.

Among those present were JSEB superintending engineer Ram Udgar Mahto and executive engineer (transformer repairing workshop) Ramji Bhagat.

Dhanbad is the third city in Jharkhand to launch the ATP facility.

“Buoyed by overwhelming response from the consumers in Ranchi and Jamshedpur, we are installing 10 such ATPs across Dhanbad district to cater to our customers,” Singh said.

Of these, one will come up at Patliputra Medical College and Hospital at Saraidhela and another at Dhaiya within a fortnight.

The fifth ATP will be installed at Chiragora by this year-end. The remaining five will come up across the district in 2014 but JSEB is yet to finalise their locations.

The machines will function from 8am to 8pm. It will accept both cash and cheques and issue a receipt to consumers. Payment facilities through bank drafts, debit and credit cards will be added later.

“Consumers will have to key in their consumer and bill numbers into the machine and the entire data, including bill amount, will be displayed,” Singh said

“As the machines will not accept coins, an amount like Rs 282 will be rounded up into Rs 290. The excess money will not be refunded. It will be adjusted with the next month’s bill,” he said.

The machines have been hired from a Banglore-based company, Xiphias, on a monthly rent of Rs 25,000 each. A company operator will be deputed at all the ATP kiosks in order to guide consumers.

Initially, ATPs will accept payments for bills catering to specified areas.

“Once the credit and debit card payment facilities are introduced, bills of any area in Dhanbad can be paid here,” said operator of Hirapur ATP machine Surya Prasad Mahto.