Sromona Bhattacharyya Bhattacharyya
Hailing from Kolkata and now a resident of Bengaluru, Sromona is a multimedia journalist who has a knack for digging stories that truly deserve attention.
In a move that is likely to benefit lakhs of flat owners across Uttar Pradesh, the state government in July allowed individual power connections to those living in flats and multi-storeyed buildings. According to media reports, this move is likely to bring relief to those who have opted for community living in areas like Greater Noida, Noida and Ghaziabad.
This decision of the state government comes after repeated complaints from flat owners’ association, who have been demanding transparency in the process of applying for an electricity connection as well as payment of bills. Under the ongoing policy, a builder obtains the electricity connection for an apartment complex under his or her name and then supplies it to the individual flat owners, thereby imposing heavy tariffs.
The Logical Indian spoke to a few members of Noida Extension Flat Owners Welfare Association (NEFOWA) who gave their perspective on this matter.
Sumit Saxena, Vice President of the association which caters to about 50,000 flat owners in Noida and Greater Noida, said that the moment a person shifts from an individual house to a flat, their electricity bill increases manifold. Further explaining the anomalies in the process, he said that apart from an individual’s electricity bill charges, builders also levy surcharges in the name of maintenance charges and excess tariff for power backups facilities provided to them.
Moreover, flat-owners have also complained about builders levying 5% transmission loss charges which further increases the electricity bill. This, Saxena said is a disadvantage for those who live in small apartments with lower power consumption.
After speaking to Abhisek Kumar, President of NEFOWA, The Logical Indian found out that not only is there less scope for transparency, but builders usually charge according to their whim and fancy when it comes to issuing a KV connection. Kumar had to pay Rs 22,00 for a kilowatt, whereas the Noida Power Corporation Limited website shows different charges for urban-domestic connections, which are much lower than what he had to pay.
Both, Saxena and Kumar spoke in favour of the move. After years of demanding the same, this new decision of the state government is likely to benefit the customer in the sense that they will only have to pay for the electricity they consume, just like individual residences.
However, they also expressed concerns over the issue of implementation. Saxena said that they are yet to be informed as to how the power companies will issue these new connections. “NPCL will not have to bring the connections to us and not to the single point bulk load connection issued in the name of the builder,” he said.
According to Business Standard, state power minister Shrikant Sharma has said that apartment management has been told to change single-point connections to multi-point connections by March 31, 2019.
Citing section 43 of the Electricity Act, reportedly the officials have said that no consumer can be prevented from taking a power connection. The decision was only announced when the chairman of the UP State Electricity Regulatory Commission, (UPSERC) cleared the proposal.
Every consumer has a right to know about the payments they are making for the products they consume. Electricity is an important consumer commodity and this step of the UP government which seeks to ensure transparency and uniformity for apartment dwellers is a welcome move.
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