UP seeks World Heritage status for 1,400 million years old fossil parkUP CM Yogi Adityanath

Virendra Singh Rawat

After keeping the power tariffs unchanged for the current financial year 2023-24, the Uttar Pradesh government is muscling up to recover cumulative power dues of Rs 45,000 crore from different categories of electricity consumers.

According to audited figures, the outstanding bills pertaining to the different power distribution companies (discoms) is worth over Rs 45,000 crore.

The state power consumers, numbering nearly 35.2 million, belong to various categories viz. domestic, farmers, commercial, industry, government etc.

Since, the outstanding receivables are humongous and impede the ability of discoms to invest in the improvement of power transmission/distribution infrastructure as well as providing subsidised power, the state is now putting in extra effort to recover arrears.

To boost the prospects of speedier collection of pending bills, the state is mulling to announce a one-time settlement (OTS) scheme for defaulters to exempt them from the payment of interest payable on the outstanding amount.

The domestic/household segment accounted for more than Rs 19,000 crore or 42 percent of the total power bills outstanding. The categories of farmers and commercial account for outstanding of Rs 3,337 crore and Rs 2,874 crore respectively, while the remaining portion pertains to industries, government departments etc.

Meanwhile, UP power consumer forum president Avadhesh Kumar Verma said the implementation of the OTS scheme would greatly benefit small consumers including domestic and commercial.

He further demanded that the government should roll-out a free power scheme to 1.4 million farmers by giving a subsidy of Rs 2,000 crore.

Earlier, the state power consumers received a proverbial poll bonanza ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, when the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) decided to keep the power tariffs unchanged for the current financial year.

Interestingly, the UP power tariffs have remained unaltered for the fourth year running, thus giving a major respite to consumers in the current spell of inflation.

The UPERC had taken into account the annual revenue requirement (ARR) documents filed by state discoms and reviewing the recommendations and suggestions thereon by different stakeholders including consumers.

In fact, the UP discoms had proposed a steep hike of 18-23 percent in tariffs for the different categories of consumers this year, and pegged their revenue requirement at more than Rs 92,560 crore for 2023-24.

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However, the UPERC approved an ARR of only Rs 86,579 crore, while also clearing power purchase of 133.45 billion units in the current year against the proposal of 140.96 billion units.

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