The electricity department has challenged the decision of the Joint Electricity Regularity Commission (JERC) disallowing expenses pertaining to free electricity being given to its employees.
The electricity department provides benefits to its employees by providing electricity concession on pattern of Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd.
As per norms, employees below pay grade of Rs 13,550 are entitled for free 100 units per month. In this category there are a total of 258 employees. As many as 600 employees having pay grade between Rs 13,550 and Rs 22,599 are entitled for free 125 units per month. In category of pay band of Rs 22,600 and above 125 employees are getting 155 free units of power each month. The department was recovering the expense of free electricity from tariff.
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JERC, in its order issued on April 29, had disallowed expense pertaining to free electricity, saying: “The amount applicable for provision of free electricity to the employees as per government circular needs to be provided by the government only and same cannot be recovered from tariff.”
The department in its review petition has said the electricity concession is being provided to employees on the pattern of PSPCL as per its circular issued on January 7, 2011 duly approved by the finance department. The department contended that it is not providing overtime and its employees work over time to maintain the continuity of supply through out the year. The department is not providing this concession to employees who have joined after January 7, 2011.
Superintending engineer MP Singh said the petition would be heard on July 27.
UT Powermen Union general secretary Gopal Dutt Joshi said the department employees are working under tremendous stress and urged the commission not to deprive them of the benefit. The union had staged one-day strike against the decision on Jun 16.
The department has also urged the commission not to consider any loss on account of increased employee cost due to addition of employee and approve the employee cost based on actual. The electricity department caters to 2.12 lakh consumers, out of which 1.75 lakh are in the domestic category.
Expressing discontent over non-compliance with the order issued two years ago pertaining to filling of vacant posts, JERC had recently directed the department to fill the posts. As per the office records, the department has a total of 1,049 employees against the sanctioned strength of 1,780. The department had sought approval for additional workforce from the ministry in June 2015.