The Telegraph
Wednesday , June 18 , 2014
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Probe into power ordeal

- Task force to investigate slow response time & bribery

Patna, June 17: The Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Limited has initiated a probe into the delay in response to a fuse-off call of this correspondent 10 days ago.

The Telegraph had published a report, “Seven-hour ordeal to fix power poser”, on June 9, highlighting the ordeal of a power consumer. Following the report, the power company ordered a probe by the chief engineer of its special task force (STF) (north and south) into the aspect of bribe sought for repairing the fault.

A senior STF official said: “Yesterday (Monday) morning, we received call from a senior official of the holding company, ordering us to probe the seven-hour power ordeal published in your newspaper.”

On the method of investigation, the official said: “Basically, we have been asked to probe why the fieldsman took seven hours to repair the fault and why he demanded money to do his job. We have been asked to submit the report to the chairman-cum-managing director of Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Limited by today evening itself.”

At 7pm on June 8, the power supply at this correspondent’s flat went off. After trying to call up the fuse-off call centre of the Patna Electric Supply Undertaking (Pesu) at SK Puri several times from 7.30pm, he could finally manage to register a complaint around 7.45pm against a docket number 46.

After waiting for three hours for restoration of the line, he again called up the centre seeking the status of the complaint. The call centre executive assured him that a fieldsman was on his way to the flat. Thereafter, repeated calls to the fuse-off centre went in vain. Finally this correspondent was provided a number of the night shift in-charge, named Chotu, who initially refused to visit the consumer’s flat but later asked for bribe to oblige.

Pesu general manager SSP Srivastava had assured the consumer that action would be taken against anyone held guilty.

On Tuesday evening, three STF officials met this correspondent to enquire about the incident.

The probe prod seemed obvious after new energy secretary and chairman-cum-managing director of Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Limited Pratyaya Amrit took over and set on making the sector people-friendly his priority.

A senior official of the holding company said: “Once the probe report is submitted, action would be taken.”

Asked about the measures being taken up by the energy department to deal with such issues, the official added: “The department is already working extensively to make call centres more effective and consumer-friendly. We conduct random checks at the fuse-off centres to find out the veracity of such complaints.”