In an effort to catch up with UDAY targets, cash-strapped Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation has taken several steps to cut power theft as well as transmission and distribution losses. The state Cabinet has given its approval for setting up of dedicated ‘anti-power-theft police stations’ in all 75 districts to check the menace. UPPCL, on its part, is conducting mass raids against illegal connections and snapping power supply of consumers whose outstanding bills are more than Rs 1 lakh. It is also getting discoms to seek help of maulvis to wean people away from taking illegal connections and ensuring timely payment of dues, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.
However, while getting private consumers to pay their power dues is proving to be a difficult task, what is tougher is getting government departments pay up. Government departments in Uttar Pradesh are the biggest defaulters and owe Rs 10,400 crore to UPPCL . “The track record of government departments in paying electricity bills is worse than that of private consumers. Despite constant reminders to various departments to clear their outstanding dues by the end of 2017-18 fiscal, UPPCL was able to recover only Rs 3,000 crore as against Rs 1,500 crore recovered in 2016-17 fiscal. Even now, the departments together owe the corporation Rs 10,400 crore,” said a senior official of UPPCL.
He said the departments of urban development and UP Handloom are the biggest defaulters at Rs 3,000 crore each, followed by the irrigation department, which owes Rs 2,600 crore and government offices and colonies at Rs 1,400 crore. UP Jal Sansthan owes the corporation Rs 400 crore.
“Though we have been able to bring the cash gap under control, we are nowhere near our target. Last year, the cash gap was Rs 14,000 crore, which we have brought down to Rs 8,000 crore this year. But our target for fiscal ending 2017-18 was to bring it down further to Rs 5,000 crore,” he said.
Similarly, AT&C losses too have been reduced, but the target has not been achieved. Against the targeted line losses of 20%, UP’s AT&C losses are at 31%, against the target of 28%, and ACS-ARR gap at 180 paise, against the target of 48 paise.
“UPPCL’s cash gap is increasing mainly due to government departments not making regular bill payments. Apart from this, the other biggest impediment in fulfilling the UDAY targets are the Saubhagya and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojna,” the official said. He added that the state government is contract bound under the UDAY to ensure 100% due clearance by its departments.