Even as more than `1,500 crore was outstanding on several industrial houses and commercial establishments towards electricity duty, the State Government has not initiated any action to recover the dues.
However, the undue haste with which the distribution companies have been collecting the enhanced tariff for 2011-12 from domestic consumers has baffled the Public Accounts Committee of the Assembly.
The PAC, which reviewed the audited accounts of the Energy Department for 2009-10, on Wednesday sought to know from the Government as to why action has not been taken to recover `1,542 crore electricity duty (ED) from industrial and commercial establishments.
PAC Chairman Bhupinder Singh told this paper that industrial houses have outstanding electricity dues of about `1,200 crore.
While an amount of `23.26 crore is outstanding on Arati Steel since 2004, Sree Metaliks, Barbil has not paid electricity duty of `8.67 crore till March 31, 2011.
Senior officials of the Energy Department reportedly told the committee that the amount could not be reconciled as the Industries Department is yet to certify the date of commissioning of the captive power plants of the two steel industries.
Electricity duty is levied on auxiliary consumption of power by Arati Steel and Sree Metaliks from their captive generating plants.
The Energy Department told the PAC that the the two companies will be proceeded against as per the Orissa Power Debt Recovery (OPDR) Act within a week, Singh said, adding that the same has been recorded in the proceedings of the committee.
Responding to a query by the PAC, the Energy Department said electricity duty outstanding on aluminium major Nalco could not be recovered as the matter is pending before the Supreme Court.
As Government revised the electricity duty from 12 paise to 20 paise per unit, Nalco challenged the decision in the Orissa High Court. As the company lost the case in the High Court, it challenged the court order in the apex court.
In an interim order, the Supreme Court has ordered the Government not to take any coercive action against the company till the final order, the department told the PAC.
Singh said that test check of records of one division office each of the four distribution companies __ CESU, Southco, Nesco and Wesco __ by the CAG detected short levy of electricity duty of `37.66 crore from July 2009 to September 2010.
The PAC decided to recommend to the Government to compensate for people or domestic animals killed by lightning, Singh said.