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Improved power supply gift for Bhagalpur, Gaya

The New Year promises to bring smiles to residents of Bhagalpur and Gaya with better power supply.

The South Bihar Power Distribution Company Ltd (SBPDCL) on Tuesday formally handed over the distribution work of Bhagalpur town and its adjoining areas to M/s SPML Infra Ltd, Calcutta, from January 1, 2014.

SPML, which has set up Bhagalpur Electricity Distribution Company Pvt Ltd, would start supplying power to 1.3 lakh consumers of Bhagalpur town, Kahalgaon and Aliganj areas under distribution franchisees area from Wednesday.

The distribution company also signed an agreement with M/s India Power Corporation Ltd, Calcutta, to get the distribution franchisee job of Gaya, Bodhgaya and adjoining areas. India Power Corporation has set up M/s India Power Corporation (Bodhgaya) Ltd, for supplying power to around 1.2 lakh consumers of the distribution franchisee area.

The franchise for Gaya is expected to be handed over to India Power Corporation on February 1. The Telegraph, in its edition dated December 15, had reported that the power distribution job would be handed over to these power firms on January 1, 2014.

The signing of the agreements regarding handing over of distribution franchisee were done in the presence of energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav who also gave away appointment letters to 13 accounts officers during the function.

The appointment of distribution franchisee means that supply, billing and maintenance would be taken care of by these private parties selected through competitive bidding floated by Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd.

The distribution company's move is expected to improve the power supply situation in these two cities.

The appointment of franchisee would also improve maintenance work of lines, power sub-stations, transformers and other things, which are undertaken by the power distribution company.

The franchisee’s job would also be to distribute bills, take meter readings, revenue collection, maintenance of low-tension (LT) lines, attend fuse-off calls and others.

The distribution company has already awarded the franchisee job to Essel Vidyut Vitaran Muzaffarpur Ltd (EVVML) on November 1, 2013 for supplying power to Muzaffarpur town and its adjoining areas.

Bijendra said the appointment of the distribution franchisee is necessary according to the Electricity Act, 2003, under which certain reforms have to be carried out by the companies.

Stating that non-performance was the sole reason for massive transmission and distribution loss, the minister said that the distribution franchisee has been appointed with certain conditions (the company would have to improve the system and increase its efficiency level by increasing revenue collection and reducing transmission and distribution loss).

Energy secretary and Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd chairman-cum-managing director Sandeep Poundrik advocated the appointment of distribution franchisee saying that it was beneficial to the state power companies’ economic health.

Rejecting allegations that energy companies are buying power at a higher rate and supplying the same to distribution franchisees at a cheaper rate, Poundrik cited the example of Muzaffarpur to buttress his point how franchisees would have fared well. Citing collection figures of six months from April 2013 in Muzaffarpur area, Poundrik said the distribution company supplied 2,527.52 lakh units (energy) and collected Rs 48.39 crore.

The same area would have mopped up revenue of Rs 67.29 crore in the same period had the franchisee been appointed in the town, he said, adding that the appointment of the distribution franchisee would have fetched Rs 18.9 crore from Muzaffarpur.

“The power company would have also saved Rs 1.25 crore per month which it spends on maintenance and repair of system and payments towards salary to the officers and employees,” the secretary said. He added that the power company would benefit around Rs 26 crore.

Poundrik said the power company would not mind taking action against the distribution franchisee if the people of the area were not benefited.