Discoms ‘goof up’ consumers’ Rs 480 crore

Bhubaneswar: Power distribution companies (Discoms) in the State have allegedly misutilised Rs 480 crore of the public money which was deposited in their respective bank accounts by the consumers during new electricity connection.

The startling figure has come to fore during an audit by the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC).
The report shows the security deposit amount of 59 lakh consumers across the State up to March 31, 2014 (as per audited balance sheet of Discoms) was Rs 1544.47 crore. Of the whole amount, WESCO, NESCO, SOUTHCO and CESU had deposits of Rs 500.84 cr, Rs 418.15 cr, Rs 133.30 cr and Rs 492.18 cr respectively.

However, the audit report revealed that after seven months, i.e. as on October 31, 2014, the total amount of the Discoms had come down from Rs 1544.47 cr to Rs 1064.51 cr, a difference of Rs 480 crore. The report further said, by October end, the four Discoms had cash deposits of Rs 466.88 cr, Rs 354.10 cr, Rs 35.80 cr and Rs 207.83 cr respectively.

“How come the cash deposits come down to such a low and where is the balance amount? The OERC should have constituted a fact finding team to probe the matter,” said Electricity Consumers’ Association president Ramesh Satapathy.

He said that it’s a matter of 59 lakh consumers and the State government must take it seriously.
The report also showed that a sum of Rs 994.71 cr has been pledged in banks for availing loan of Discoms towards payment of salary and BST (bulk supply tariff) bills.

When contacted, GRIDCO authorities rejected allegations of misappropriation.

“There is no irregularity. The security money is deposited in bank in two cases; we get special over draft (SOD) limit and sometimes it is used to pay salary of the employees. Very soon we will come out with the exact figures which is being audited,” Bibhu Prasad Mohapatra, CGM, Finance, GRIDCO said.