Pay advance credit to consume power

It seems that cash-strapped Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) is on a money-collection drive.

Apart from a hike in the annual tariff, the PSPCL has introduced advance credit deposit(ACD) scheme for all types of consumers, barring the agriculture sector. Earlier, about a year back, it was only meant for the industrial consumers. However, now all the 57 lakh consumers have been brought under this net. The ACD will be based on annual power consumption. Hence, the more one consumes power, the higher will be the ACD security.

As per the instructions, the PSPCL will take an advance security of one-and-a-half month power bill from every consumer. Earlier, this security was nominal on the basis of the per KW load taken by any consumer. Hefty power bills have already reached consumers, who are finding it hard to pay them together.

The calculations are being done on the basis of annual power consumption of any consumer, which will be divided by 12 (no of months in a year) and multiplied by 1.5. The figure generated will be the ACD that the consumers will have to pay annually. PSPCL Director (finance) Surinderpal Singh confirmed that domestic, commercial and other sectors of consumers, except farming sector had also been included in the ACD scheme.

The director said, "Now, a consumer will have to pay security as per power consumed. A majority of consumers had taken power connections, years back when security was very nominal, so we have rationalised it as per the inflation rate."

Consumers have already been sent bills with ACD, as per the Electricity Act 2005. Anil Sood, a consumer from Ludhiana said, "I have been told to pay Rs 16,000 as ACD, apart from my electricity bill and I am not even aware about when it was introduced".

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