NASHIK: As the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) has started taking action against consumers with a power bill pending for even a month, demand is being raised that the power company should serve a 15-days’ prior notice to consumers before snapping off their supply.
“Before issuing a formal notice, MSEDCL cannot cut power supply as per Section 56 of the Electricity Act of 2003,” an activist said. Consumers are often unaware of the 15-days’ prior notice before power is cut, so MSEDCL should adhere to it, he added.
The streets in over 500 villages of Nashik district were in dark after sunset. It is understood that the state power utility had snapped the connections as the village panchayats concerned had failed to pay the bills.
The officials claimed that the gram panchayats in Nashik and Malegaon circles owed huge outstanding to the company. In all, 358 villages in the Malegaon circle owed Rs 87.87 crore, and over 1,000 villages in the Nashik circle owed Rs 150.62 crore totalling Rs 238.49 crore as the pending dues.
An MSEDCL official said they do serve notices on registered mobile numbers of the consumer via SMS. However, the official was unaware if a physical copy of the notice is served or not. “Since these days almost everything is done via the registered mobile number, prior intimation about a reading, bill, and units is given from time to time via SMS to the consumer. So is the notice that if they fail to pay the pending electricity bill amount within the stipulated deadline, they will face action,” said the official.
The MSEDCL officials, during a meeting, had said that the failure to recover arrears from the consumers would affect the company’s ability to provide uninterrupted power supply and, hence, called for strict action against defaulters and those who engage in power theft.
The MSEDCL officials from Nashik and Jalgaon zones had recently attended the meeting that was chaired by Vijay Singhal, the MSEDCL chairman, and managing director, in Nashik. He had stressed the need to recover the arrears and dues from all the consumers and carry out disconnection drives against non-complying consumers noting that the arrears worth Rs 60,000 crore are due, and the company has also taken a loan of Rs 50,000 crore.
Rs. 238.49 crore dues
The officials claimed that the gram panchayats in Nashik and Malegaon circles owed huge outstanding to the company. In all, 358 villages in Malegaon circle and over 1,000 villages in Nashik circle owe Rs 238.49 crore as the pending dues.