NASHIK: Around 6.23 crore consumers owe Rs 1,330 crore to the Nashik zone of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL).
Reeling under the rising losses, the state power utility officials have now issued warning to defaulters asking them to clear the dues or face action. “All residential, commercial, industrial, public water works, agriculture consumers collectively owe a whopping Rs 1,330 crore to the state power utility. If they don’t settle their dues, they will face power disconnection,” a senior official from MSEDCL said.
Nashik Zone — comprising Nashik and Ahmednagar districts — has 14.09 lakh consumers. “A total of 44.21% of the consumers in the zone are defaulters. We have warned them to settle their dues at the earliest,” the official added.
The defaulters’ list is very high and outstanding with agriculture consumers alone runs into Rs 1,148 crore against the double and single digit figures of consumers from seven other categories. “The outstanding figures of farmers are very high. As many 2,72,498 farmers owe Rs 1,148 crore to the MSEDCL while 4,499 industrial consumers owe Rs 6.28 crore,” the official said.
The official pointed out that the company had to enter into power purchase agreements and pay in cash for power purchased from the government as well as the private power producers. “Generally, power purchased on daily basis is consumed by the consumer for a month. Eight days after the month is over, power bills are generated for the consumers. These bills have a cut-off date by which the consumer has to settle the dues. Consumer uses power for 30 days and 45 days later he is asked to pay the bills,” the official said.
The MSEDCL has taken this stand to ensure the recovery is maximum before the end of this financial year. Nashik also has to ensure that at least 50% of the outstanding amount was recovered. But it is an uphill task as 86% of the amount is with agriculture consumers. “This means others consumers will now be under pressure to pay the dues,” Rajesh Khairnar, a consumer from Nashik city said questioning why should the residents of commercial, residential and industrial category pay for the non-payment of agriculture, public water works and street lights.
On the other hands the farmers are unwilling to settle dues unless the company gives them correct bill. “We want metered bill and not average bill. The day we get it, we will clear our outstanding,” Pandharinath Wakhede, a farmer from Sinnar, said.