The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Easier power billing on cards

New Delhi, Nov. 26: The Information Technology Task Force on power sector has suggested an integrated billing system for bulk and industrial customers.

A move, which will cut down power payment frauds, line tapping, is expected to yield an immediate 30 per cent return on investment.

The task force headed by Nandan M Nilekani, which presented its report to power minister Ananth Geethe, has also suggested integrating meter reading, billing, payment and collection for consumer and industrial customers, in order to check tampering and manipulation.

The transmission and distribution losses of state electricity boards (SEB) amount to about Rs 33,000 crore, mainly due to power theft and inability to bill and collect.

In June this year, power ministry had asked Nasscom to prepare a report suggesting ways to reform power sector distribution and transmission using IT tools. The report is a result of the task force’s work since then.

It has also suggested need for a roadmap using IT with an emphasis on implementation of commercial processes and in improving the quality of supply in selected high revenue areas.

It has also recommended that SEBs should realise the importance of effective management information system, minimising human interface in commercial processes which in turn could reduce human error and chances of wilful mistakes.

The 66-page report has also favoured a different funding model for the implementing IT in the sector. It has also emphasised the need for a major change in the attitude of power sector.

While accepting the report, Geethe said: “The need of the hour is to institutionalise changes and bring about sustainable, pervasive improvement. Enabling the core business operation at the transaction level using information system would lay the foundation for sustainable reforms.”

Presenting the report Nilekani said: “There is a need for a tactical planning, budgeting, monitoring to improve profits and revenue collection.”

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