BHUBANESWAR: The Assembly Committee on Energy on Saturday directed the State Government to issue necessary instructions to the power distribution companies (discoms) to replace defunct transformers within a stipulated time.
The direction of the committee, headed by Speaker of State Assembly Niranjan Pujari, came following complaints from a majority of the members that discoms are delaying replacement of defunct transformers posing hardships to the consumers.
Raising the issue, Leader of Opposition Narsingh Mishra said the discoms are bound by electricity law to replace defunct transformers within 12 hours in urban areas and 48 hours in rural areas. While it is being followed in urban areas, rural consumers face hardships due to step-motherly attitude of the discoms.
Mishra also objected to the demand of the discoms of 50 per cent deposit of their unpaid bill as a precondition for replacement of the defunct transformers. "Why are the consumers who are paying their monthly bill regularly penalised for the ones defaulting payments," Mishra questioned.
The discoms have failed to achieve the performance parameters set by Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission, the members said.
Pujari directed the Energy Department to ensure proper planning, management and monitoring by the discoms at grid and sub-station level.
As members of the committee disputed the figures on achievement of rural electrification including free electricity connection to BPL households, the House Committee directed the Government to set up district level committee on electricity for monitoring the rural infrastructure programmes on a regular basis.
It was decided that the proposed district level committee, to be headed by Collector concerned, will have a quarterly meeting to review the progress of rural electrification and consumer-related issues. MLAs and MPs of each district will be members of the district committee and the State Government is free to nominate at least two members, Mishra said.
The House Committee was informed that 14,413 out of 14,856 unelectrified villages were supplied power during the current financial year till December 31, 2014.
The Government has set a target to provide free electricity connection to 48.44 lakh BPL households during 2014-15. However, 23.10 lakh households were provided electricity by end of last year.
Nine ministers, Chief Whips of both ruling BJD and opposition Congress and 29 MLAs are members of the House Committee.