Odisha’s Central Electricity Supply (CESU), which has incurred pending dues worth nearly Rs 2,000 crore, on Tuesday warned consumers it will start snipping electricity connections if bills are not paid by January 15, 2020.
In a press conference, Tuesday, CESU CEO and senior IPS officer Arun Bothra said, “We will wait for a month and start cutting electricity connections from January 16. As CEO CESU, I appeal and request to consumers to pay their pending dues.”
As of March 2018, CESU served over 22 lakh consumers including Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and the port town of Paradeep. The company’s AT&C loss, which includes technical loss, theft, inefficiency in billing, default in payment and inefficiency in collection, stood at 34 per cent.
Sources in CESU said that its poor payment record has hit power generation firms while contributing to the stress in the banking sector.
Bothra said that pending dues amounted to Rs 1,971 crore. “Domestic consumers account for 92 per cent of overall defaulters and 80 per cent of pending dues. Commercial entities account for 7 per cent of defaulters. The industries that have defaulted to the tune of Rs 108 crore, but many of the bills are tied in legal disputes.”
The company shared that around one lakh consumers have not paid bills in over two years and 58,000 consumers have pending dues over Rs 50,000 each amounting to Rs 691 crore.
The CESU CEO also outlined a detailed plan to sensitise consumers about their pending bills before action is taken against them. “We will send out SMSes, advertise in papers, distribute leaflets, announce on microphones, go on radio shows and exhaust every medium to communicate with people that they need to pay up.”
He also added that CESU has provisions for those consumers who are staring at large dues but will be unable to settle them in one payment. “They can apply to our SDO (sub divisional office). There are grounds for them to pay within six instalments. We have every intention to continue providing people with electricity and will facilitate easy payments.”
CESU will accept payment in cash, cheque, demand drafts, pay orders and through online systems. “We can also send people to collect money from consumers at their residence,” Bothra stated.