Srinagar: As the valley reels under a harsh cold wave, the power department has ordered its staff to disconnect electricity to those consumers whose pending dues exceed Rs 10,000, in a bid to increase revenue recovery.
An official circular (307-13) issued by the department directed field staff reads: “You are directed to disconnect (power supply of) all consumers in your area having pending arrears above Rs 10,000 in domestic and commercial category within six days.”
Officials have been told that “any laxity” on their part would be “their responsibility that would be reported to higher officials”.
Kashmir power development department chief engineer Shahnaz Goni, who asked an executive engineer to inform this reporter about the circular, said the circular is meant for the entire valley.
“We have defaulters whose liabilities have risen up to Rs 50,000 and above and we will disconnect their lines. Subsequently, we will cut supply to those whose liability is below that amount,” the executive engineer said.
The engineer said revenue generation and recovery is a priority for the department. Meetings are held regularly by officials to devise strategies for tariff recovery.
Public outrage has spread over erratic power outages since the onset of winter.
“Our priority is to ensure power supply to consumers but due to the law and order issue during the last five months people resorted to hooking triggering load shedding,” he added.
After the five-month long public uprising triggered by killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani ebbed, consumers received a ‘consolidated bill’ for that period, triggering complaints that the department arbitrarily charged consumers without recording monthly meter readings.
The power sector has a history of being plagued with revenue deficit. Last year, the State Electricity Regulatory Commission had found no merit in blaming the people for the losses and instead held PDD responsible for not installing meters in the unmetered areas.
The panel had recommended that the power be supplied to areas on the basis of the power losses they incur.