Traders demand rebate on delayed payment surcharge of electricity bills
Coal town traders are upset with Jharkhand Bijli Nigam Limited (JBVNL) for imposing delayed payment surcharge (DPS) for nonpayment of electricity bills for the lockdown period. They are also miffed over the non-waiver of fixed electricity charges from April to June 2020 despite Jharkhand State Electricity Regulatory Commission (JSERC) issuing an order in this regard on September 21, 2020.
Talking to The Telegraph Online, Amit Sahu, President of Jharia Chamber of Commerce who also runs Sahu Lodge said, “All the shops, business, establishments, and industries remained closed during the lockdown period as per the government order. We made no income during that period.”
“Those running rental accommodation face the additional burden of paying the rent and the staff payment despite having zero income. As a consequence, many of them couldn’t pay the electricity bills. And now, when they are trying to pay, they are being compelled to pay the exorbitant late payment surcharge. This is putting an extra financial burden on them,” said Sahu. He added that they have decided to raise the issue before the Managing Director of JBVNL Rahul Kumar Purwar and General Manager of Dhanbad supply area of JBVNL, Ajit Kumar, soon.
“At a time when the trade industry is struggling to recuperate from the losses it suffered during the lockdown period, government-owned power company seeking high late fees will only affect trading bodies,” said Sahu.
Ajay Narayan Lal, Vice president of the Federation of Dhanbad Zila Chamber of Commerce said, “The brief wedding season (November 25 to December 15) was the only time that we did little business. The profit made back then is insufficient to pay the exorbitant delayed payment surcharge. The government needs to waive off a portion of it soon.”
Rajiv Sharma, general secretary of Jharkhand Industries and Trade Association (JITA), said, “Not just DPC, the government should also consider waiving off of fixed charges for the three months of April to June as per JSERC order, for industries like hard coke factories. Many of the factories are still non-operational due to lack of proper supply of coal.”