The electricity bills amounting to a whopping Rs 6862.27 crore has not been paid to the Haryana Power Discoms by the consumers including domestic, agriculture and commercial sector and even government-owned bodies.
The outstanding bill against various categories of power consumers have increased from Rs 5295.74 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 6862.27 crore in 2020-21 (as on December 2020), as per the State Government’s data.
The financial crisis hitting various sectors due to the COVID-19 lockdown last year is seen as a major factor for sharp rise in defaulting amount in the state.
The highest amount of pending electricity bills are of domestic consumers standing at Rs 4484.37 crore, an increase from Rs 3605.36 crore in 2019-20.
In other categories, the outstanding dues to Haryana Power Discoms (Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam and Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam) include Rs 820.96 crore by industrial consumers and Rs 702.09 crore by commercial users. The amount of pending power bills were Rs 603.57 crore and Rs 499.88 crore respectively in both these categories in 2019-20.
In the agriculture sector, electricity bills amounting to Rs 170.54 crore are pending now.
Several government departments are also electricity bill defaulters in the state with an arrear of Rs 684.28 crore pending against them. In 2019-20, the arrears against the government departments were Rs 405.95 crore.
As of September 2020, the number of electricity consumers in the state was more than 69.79 lakh. The power consumers were 67.84 lakh in 2019-20 and over 65.32 lakh in 2018-19.
The government’s data stated, “The consumption of power was maximum in domestic sector upto September 2020 i.e. 65481.33 lakh units (LUs) followed by industrial sector i.e. 51535.98 LUs.
The per capita consumption of electricity increased from 57 units in 1967-68 to 1,805.45 units in 2019-20. For the agriculture sector, a subsidy amounting to Rs 6978.40 crore was given by the State Government in the year 2019-20.
Notably, the State Government had in 2018 launched a settlement scheme with an aim to encourage the consumers to clear their pending electricity bills. At that time, 1361300 consumers had opted for the scheme while an amount of Rs 437.52 crore had been paid till January 31, 2019 under the scheme. The State Government had also waived off bills amounting to Rs 3806.04 crore under the scheme.
In the past, the government had also warned of releasing the name of defaulters in the public domain.