The Power Division has taken a strict stand to collect outstanding electricity bills from its consumers.
As part of this, West Zone Power Distribution Company Limited (WZPDC) has disconnected 75 connections of those city corporations and municipalities, which failed to pay due bills.
WZPDCL is supplying electricity in Khulna Division, Barishal Division and Greater Faridpur comprising 21 districts and 20 upazilas excluding REB areas.
According to the Power Division, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed in the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on June 1, to disconnect power lines if any customer does not pay the outstanding electricity bill even after receiving a notice.
Following the directive, all distribution companies under the Power Division were instructed to take necessary measures by issuing notices to the consumers having due electricity bills.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said, "We are noticing that many government institutions, along with municipalities and city corporations, are keeping their electricity bills in arrears for a long time, which is not acceptable at all. If anyone or institutions fail to pay dues on time, the power lines will be disconnected as per law.
He said, "Even though ordinary consumers pay their electricity bill regularly, many municipalities, city corporations and other large organizations are not paying their electricity bills. Due to the large amount of outstanding electricity bills of these institutions, additional pressure is being created on the Power Division. We request all of our respected consumers to pay electricity bills regularly. If necessary, you can take advantage of bill installments as per the rules.”
Officials said WZPDC served a notice on September 7 to city corporations and municipalities under its areas to pay due electricity bills by September 18. If city corporations fail to do so, WZPDC would disconnect power lines as per Article 18 (1) of the Electricity Act 2018.
Following the WZPDC notice, 75 connections of those city corporations and municipalities, which failed to pay due bills within the stipulated time frame, were disconnected. Around Tk 3.34 crore was realised as due bills from 16 city corporations and municipalities.
“However, it is being observed with great concern that some of the city corporations and municipalities are reconnecting their networks illegally with the power lines without communicating with WZPDC. It will not take responsibility if any accident occurs when city corporations or municipalities illegally connect their networks to electricity lines,” WZPDCL officials said.
"Legal action will be taken against such illegal and unlawful reconnections of power lines without paying the outstanding bills," he added.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources expressed its anger over the outstanding electricity bills of public and private departments.
In that meeting, the committee expressed anger because the electricity bills of various government and private departments were outstanding. The committee also said that why these offices are not paying the electricity bills day after day, they should conduct an energy audit and present that information in the meeting.
According to the information given by the State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources in the Parliament recently, the power bill outstanding in government, semi-government, private institutions and organizations is about Tk 8500 crore.