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Bill drive to shore up power revenue

Patna, Dec. 25: The state government plans to bring all power consumers under the billing network to sustain the energy firms and collect revenue.

The Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd pays Rs 200 crore to NTPC per month for purchasing power, sources said, making it clear that the state government, at present, foots the bill to buy energy.

Sources said distribution companies supplied power worth Rs 633.98 crore in September and collected revenue of Rs 360.64 crore — a deficit of Rs 273.34 crore.

The state government gives the amount to the power company each month, as the firm is unable to collect revenue in proportion to the energy it purchases. According to sources, of around 44 lakh consumers in the state, more than one-third (17.5 lakh) get a fixed bill amount. These users have meters installed on their premises but are not charged for their actual consumption.

“All efforts to increase revenue have proved futile owing to non-reading of meters,” said chief secretary Ashok Kumar Sinha on Wednesday.

Sinha conducts review meets every month through video-conferencing to keep tabs on progress and performance of the energy sector. Senior officials and district magistrates attend the meeting.

“The chief secretary has directed the power distribution company officials to increase revenue by bringing all consumers under the billing network,” a Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd (BSPHCL) official said.

“The power company’s objective is to bring all the consumers under billing network and we are doing it sincerely. The issue of fixed billing is also being addressed by the firm,” said H.R. Pandey, the BSPHCL’s deputy general manager (public relations).

If the state needs to increase its revenue collection, these 17.5 lakh consumers need to be charged on the actual consumption and not on the basis of fixed bill.

Sources added that the trend could prove dangerous for power companies, which meet its requirement through purchases, except that of 110MW that it draws from Muzaffarpur Thermal Power Station.

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