Published On : Wed, May 6th, 2015

Face value of MSEDCL efficiency: Rs 20,000 crore pending dues & Rs 18,000 crore debt!!!

The three companies of Maharashtra Energy Department – MSEDCL, Mahagenco and Mahatransco – are burdened with a staggering Rs 55,000 crore debt combined

Nagpur: The slipshod affairs being run in Mahadiscom (Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited or MSEDCL) have come to the fore, again. In a shocking revelation, it has got gathered MSEDCL has abysmally failed to recover pending electricity dues to the tune of staggering Rs 20,000 from its consumers across Maharashtra over a period of time. And the pending dues are mounting day after day. The MSEDCL has been found running its affairs on borrowed money and the figure of this debt money stands at whopping Rs 18,000 crore on company’s head. Moreover, the company is paying around Rs 1,500 crore interest towards this debt, annually, said the sources.

It is significant to recall, the MSEDCL is soon completing 10 years of its formation. With the mountain of pending dues staring at its face, the State Government has reportedly initiated measures to recover the money. In this context, the Energy Department has come out with a scheme through which the defaulter farmers would be sent letters. Also, a feeder franchisee management scheme has been drawn, stated the sources.

There are near about 2.25 crore consumers of MSEDCL across Maharashtra including 36 lakh agriculture pump holders. These farm pump holders owe half of the pending dues, i.e. Rs 10,000 crore to MSEDCL. Similarly, an amount of Rs 3643 is pending against Permanently Disconnected (PD) consumers. Apart from these defaulters, dues of crores of rupees are pending against bigwig institutes other than streetlight providing and water supplying institutes, revealed the sources.

Ironically, even after the MSEDCL came into being as separate entity, the losses of Electricity Department are increasing instead of decreasing. Because of the losses, the MSEDCL has been forced to borrow money in large scale for purchasing electricity and erecting infrastructure. The MSEDCL owes Mahagenco and Mahatransco amounts of Rs 5000 crore and Rs 1000 crore respectively. Moreover, MSEDCL is paying hefty amounts of interest to these two companies for failing to pay the debts within stipulated time. Ultimately, the consumers are paying for the follies of MSEDCL in the form of increased tariff. Now, to get rid of the messy situation, the Energy Department has drawn an effective plan to recover the pending dues from the consumers.

Big question mark on recovery from PD consumers:
An amount of Rs 3643 crore is pending against Permanently Disconnected (PD) consumers. However, there are a number of PD consumers who are at present non-existent. In this tricky situation, recovery of pending dues from such non-existent PD consumers has cropped up a serious question.

Shortcomings in power bills:
Meters have been installed on 18 lakh agriculture pumps in the State. It is expected that after noting down the readings of these meters, bills are issued. However, the MSEDCL is issuing bills based on Horse Power (HP) of the pumps instead of readings of the meters. In this process, bills of haphazard amounts are being issued even to the non-functional pump holders. Now, the bills are being corrected following complaints from the farmers.

Pending amounts due to waiver of electricity bills:
Hundreds of farmers were devastated and put to loss by droughts, unseasonal rains and hailstorms in several parts of the State. In such distressful situations, the Government resorts to waiver of electricity bills. The benefit of such waivers is also being reaped by capable farmers despite they are in position to pay their bills. Because of these reasons, the pending dues are showing an increasing trend, stated the sources.

Feeder franchisee scheme:
At present, the MSEDCL is recurring losses on about 1400 feeders across the State. In these feeders, the number of consumers paying their bills is very less or can be counted on finger tips. To hammer out the problem, a scheme has prepared in which the unemployed engineers would be given feeder franchisees at division levels. Accordingly, the unemployed engineers would be handed over the work of bill distribution, noting down readings, metering, curbing electricity theft etc. Those taking franchisees and recovering pending dues would be given incentives. With this scheme, the unemployed would get jobs and the MSEDCL would receive the pending amounts.

Request letters to defaulter farmers:
The farmers owe the 50 percent of MSEDCL’s total pending dues. Several farmers have not paid power bills since the past 4-5 years. But thanks to the Government policy, electric supply of them is not being disconnected. In this situation, the defaulter farmers would be sent request letters urging them to pay the pending dues. The letters would also contain information regarding losses due to non-payment of bills, load-shedding crisis, use of pilfered electricity and related accidents and other issues. In this letter drive, the farmers would be encouraged to pay their non-paid bills.

Debt of Rs 55,000 crore:
The MSEDCL, Mahagenco and Mahatransco have been burdened with a combined debt of Rs 55,000 crore. If the amounts of interests are taken into consideration, the debt figure has assumed a gigantic proportion. As a result, the power tariffs are being hiked on regular basis. The main reason of this nasty situation is inefficiency of these three companies.

– Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha(