Guwahati: A few days ago, Assam Chief Minister lauded the Assam Power Distribution Corporation Limited (APDCL) for collecting over Rs 500 crore in outstanding power bills. The APDCL claimed to be on a massive anti-power-theft drive and collecting outstanding bills from defaulters. 

However, APDCL cannot manage to get government departments to follow the directives. Even as it adopts a Zero-tolerance policy, the state government departments themselves owe over Rs 95 crore to the APDCL for unpaid electricity bills of around the last three years. The state government is one of the major defaulters in the non-payment of electricity bills.

A document of the outstanding balance of the state government department, accessed by EastMojo, reveals that the public health engineering (PHE) department owes nearly Rs 26 crore. Similarly, the health department owes around Rs 11.7 crore, while the education department and irrigation department owe over Rs 7 and 6.3 crores, respectively. 

The home department has also not cleared electricity bills amounting to nearly Rs 5.5 crore, including nearly Rs 3.7 crore from the Assam Police Director-General office in Ulubari.

In the list of defaulter departments, the forest department owes Rs 4.94 crore whereas the public works department owes Rs 4.2 crore. The veterinary, agriculture, panchayat & rural development and judiciary departments have a pending bill amounting to over Rs 2 crore each. 

The electricity bill of the deputy commissioner offices and the sub-divisional offices across the state, which the general administration department pays, has an outstanding of Rs 5.2 crore. The block development offices across the state have an outstanding of Rs 2 crore. 

An APDCL official, in a condition of anonymity, told EastMojo, “We have placed several notices and reminders to the defaulter departments, but we still have such a huge outstanding balance. Some outstanding balances are from two to three years.”

Another official, who didn’t wish to be named said, “The energy bills of government departments are now being paid since it is the state’s government policy towards making APDCL fully efficient. The departments are now paying, however, if some department does not pay we will be bound to cut the connection.”

The state-run power distribution company has over Rs 2,300 crore pending from all customers, including individual, commercial and government departments. 

The company was incurring a loss of Rs 300 crore per month from power theft and non-payment of electricity bills. So far, in the drive against power theft, the company has detected 1,419 cases and imposed hefty fines. 

The company has realised over Rs 500 crore in June in their massive drive to collect the pending amounts and more Rs 220 crore is yet to be collected, Principal Secretary, Home and Power, Niraj Verma told in a press conference held on Friday. A fine of Rs 14.94 crore was imposed last month and of that, Rs 2.10 crore has been already recovered, Verma added.

To read this article in Assamese. Click here!

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