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Breather from power bill shock

Hope is at hand for victims of faulty electricity billing.

The energy department, after due scanning, has said faulty bills delivered to consumers would be corrected and a 25-30-strong call centre would be made operational within six months to provide easy support to consumers and immediate resolution of their grievances. A bill rectification camp would also be held every Thursday in all sub-divisions.

Sandeep Poundrik, the chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) of Bihar State Power Holding Company and the energy secretary, said 300 new power sub-stations would come up in different parts of the state over the next three years.

“At present, there are 545 power sub-stations in the state to which the department would add 300 more in three years. The department intends that each block must have at least one power sub-station. The company has 42 lakh consumers,” Poundrik said.

He added that the billing system was improving.

“Under the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme, many transformers of less capacities had been set up at different places. However, they were burnt after sometime and were not replaced. Many consumers have complained that they suddenly received electricity bills running into lakhs of rupees when they actually never had access to power,” said Poundrik.

“The state government has taken up the matter seriously and formed three-member committees in each district under the district magistrate (DM). The period during which they didn’t have access to power would be checked and the corresponding amount would be subtracted from the total bill. In the next six months, a call centre handled by 25 to 30 persons would come up to handle power- and bill-related problems. Instant resolution of the issues would be the primary motive,” added the CMD of of Bihar State Power Holding Company.

Energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav, on the other hand, announced a bill rectification camp every Thursday.

“The camp would be held in each sub-division to offer on-spot solutions to people’s woes. the department has sanctioned the setting up of 950 power transformers and 1.5 lakh distribution transformers. The new sub-stations would solve power woes in rural areas, reducing the dependence on feeders, which develop frequent snags,” the minister said.

“The revenue franchise system, which involves outsourcing meter reading and bill payment collection, and home delivery of bills would soon start,” said Poundrik.

Officials said the power distribution franchisee for Patna would be finalised shortly.

At present, Gaya, Muzaffarpur and Bhagalpur have independent franchisees appointed for distribution by the Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Limited.

While Essel Power has been appointed as the distribution franchisee for Muzaffarpur, Calcutta-based SMPL Infra Limited is the distribution franchisee for Bhagalpur. India Power Corporation Limited has been given the responsibility for Gaya.

The minister said: “Tenders would be floated for Patna shortly. The state, at present, has got a transmission capacity of 3,000MW and this year, it would see an increase by at least 1,000MW. By June 2015, the state would have a transmission capacity of 5,500MW.”

On an assuring note, Yadav said: “Agricultural land would not be touched to set up solar power projects. The state would always invite interested private parties for such costly ventures.”