IMPHAL, April 12: Power consumers formed a body to protest against power department’s drive to disconnect supply to bill defaulters.
A body called All Manipur Power Consumers Association was formed today demanding the state power department to immediately stop the disconnection drive launched by the department and launch the drive after giving uninterrupted supply and streamlining functioning of the power department.
Forming of the association on February 13 and the line of action of the consumers’ body was announced in a press conference here today by the president S. Chaoba and general secretary, Konthoujam Sanatomba.
S. Chaoba in the press conference held today at the Manipur press club stated that disconnection drive by the power department is one sided as its concern is only collection of bills from consumers. The department is ignoring its responsibility of supplying uninterrupted power to its consumers and does not care to take initiative to take prompt action in response to complaints filed by consumers.
The power department started launching the drive on January 24 this year to collect outstanding bills, snap supply to defaulters and also disconnect unauthorized connections.
The drive followed a public interest litigation filed by three individuals of Imphal to the Imphal Bench of the Gauhati high court demanding at least 8 hours supply daily.
The association also stated that it would not object to punishment for power theft but demanded that unauthorized connections should be regularized on the spot.
The department could supply only 4 to 5 hours daily as the supply could not meet the demand. The state`s power requirement is 170 MW during peak hours and 100 MW during other times.
However, the state is getting only 80 MW during peak hours. Officials at the power department maintained that it could not buy enough power due to non-clearance of bills.
Konthoujam Sanatomba stated that the department first fails to supply regular power, than fails to deliver the bills regularly, does not respond to complaints. Consumers sometimes even contribute money for reparing damaged transformers.
It is the duty of the power department to first streamline its functioning and than launch the drive, he added.
Non-delivery of timely bills made consumers difficult to clear the mounting bills and made the matter worsen as the department did not allow payment of the bills in installment system further stated the leaders of the association.
Consumers, whose connections were either snapped or would be facing the same fate came together to form the association to raise a united voice against what they termed as `harrassement` of the consumers. the association is planning to first submit a representation to the authorities of the department to highlight their grievances and seeking their redressal.
The association also stated it did not want to confront the department, but would be compelled to take other forms of strategy to make the department listen to their grievances if it failed to make things easier for the consumers.