GUWAHATI: Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday that power theft by a section of unscrupulous consumers in the State makes the APDCL (Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd) suffer around Rs 300-crore loss per month. This leads to a hike in power tariff affecting the honest power consumers, he said.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also spelt out an innovative mechanism to check power theft by a section of unscrupulous industries by linking their GST (Goods and Service Tax) returns with their respective power bills. He asked the APDCL to prepare a list of cement and other companies.
Power Theft Revenue Loss to APDCL
The Chief Minister had a meeting with the top officials of the three sister concerns in the power sector – the APDCL, APGCL (Assam Power Generation Corporation Ltd) and the AEGCL (Assam Electricity Grid Corporation Ltd) – at Bijuli Bhawan here. He asked the top officials of these three companies to check power theft and minimize the T&D (transmission and distribution) loss, besides laying stress on ensuring better services to the consumers. He also asked the three companies to identify the causes of their respective revenue losses.
Addressing the media after the meeting, the Chief Minister said, "It has come to light that a section of industries and other consumers don't pay power bills in sync with the amount of power they consume. This makes the APDCL suffer a loss of around Rs 300 crore per month. To make up for this loss, the APDCL appeals to the AERA (Assam Electricity Regulatory Authority) for the hike in power tariff. When the power tariff is hiked the honest power consumers have to suffer.
"It's a reality that the APDCL has not been able to collect the power bill amounts properly in some remote areas and hilly terrains because of some technical problems. That also adds to the total loss.
"Now we're contemplating on linking the GST returns that the industries pay and their respective electricity bills. The GST indicates the total production of industry. The total production of industry, in turn, indicates its total power consumption. This is one way to check power theft by a section of unscrupulous industries.
"The Gujarat model in the power sector is the best. We're going to adopt that model in the State. On Tuesday the Gujarat power company will demonstrate it here for its adoption in the State."
The Chief Minister said that if all stakeholders work with honesty and sincerity the loss-making power sector in the State can be made a profit-making one.
Of late, the State government has been tough in dealing with theft. It has relieved a top APDCL official from his job, besides placing one under suspension and issuing show-cause notices to several others for their failure in checking power theft.