In Noida, the power tariff being levied by private maintenance agencies in several societies has become a cause for concern for residents. They allege that there are several loopholes in the mechanism set up by these agencies that lead to consumers paying exorbitant amounts for electricity. Residents living in societies still under the builder’s control are the worst affected.
The power discom gives residential societies a domestic bulk supply single-point connection and collects the charge from the connection allottee based on consumption. The present power tariff includes a fixed charge of Rs 90 per kW for domestic usage. There is also a monthly charge of Rs 4.4 per unit up to 150 units, Rs 4.95 per unit from 151 to 300 units, Rs 5.6 per unit from 301 to 500 units, and Rs 6.2 per unit for above 500 units.
According to the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL), a builder can only levy charges based on the tariff of the power discom. Residents allege that there is a gross violation of the rule by the domestic bulk supply single point connection allottee. They say that most single point connection allottees are builders, as the control of the society is with them until the handover to a democratically elected resident body.
Almost all builders have set up a prepaid mechanism, under which they collect tariff from consumers. Sanjeev Dixit, a resident of Homes 121, in Sector 121, says, “The builders have a high recovery rate, which is in excess of what they should be taking from us. Quite often, the consumer is charged double than what he or she should be paying." He added that developers take a connection of low capacity and provide connections to a large number of consumers. The result is frequent power breakdowns.
Dixit had lodged a complaint with the chief engineer of Paschimanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd (PVVNL) and forwarded copies of this to Noida Authority and the district magistrate.
Surya Prakash, a resident of Grand Omaxe, a society in Sector 93B, says that the maintenance agency gets a 10 per cent rebate over transmission losses or equipment efficiency. “However, this rebate is not passed on to residents, and the amount made from these rebates go to the builder or his appointed agencies,” he said.
He added that the prepaid meters are routed through servers that are not accurate. “Sometimes even when there is no consumption, the meters show high usage. In extreme cases, there is a disconnection of power, despite all charges being paid.”
Residents from several other societies, such as Prateek Wisteria (Sector 77), Supertech Capetown (Sector 74) and Amrapali Platinum (Sector 119), cite similar issues. Col RP Khanna (Retd), a resident of Amrapali Platinum, says, "The builder deducts maintenance charge through the prepaid meter."
When City Spidey spoke to Raghvendra Yadav, the executive engineer of PVVNL, he assured action against the defaulters. He said, “Single-point connection holders have to follow the guidelines of the UPPCL. If one fails to adhere to the rules, an FIR will be lodged.”
Yadav added that the bulk supply single point connection is a postpaid connection, under which power tariff is collected according to consumption. Though the builders are allowed to instal prepaid meters for each consumer, they cannot indulge in commercial exploitation of electricity.