GUWAHATI, April 17 - The power sector has witnessed a shortfall of more than Rs 230 crore in revenue collection during the COVID-19 induced lockdown, virtually pushing the Assam Power Distribution Corporation Limited (APDCL) towards a state of liquidity crunch.
Since the lockdown was enforced, which made manual payment�of electricity bill by consumers impossible, the average collection from consumers of various categories dropped from nearly Rs 400 crore per month to Rs 160 crore.
However, despite the lockdown, there has been very marginal let-up in power consumption in the State. Sources informed that although the government has relaxed the power purchasing norms for the next three months, the APDCL has not been able to garner revenue to even meet the reduced expenses.
�Unlike pre-lockdown period, the APDCL can now purchase power from its usual public sector sources after payment of 50 per cent of the total cost,� sources at Dispur told The Assam Tribune.
He added that the revenue collection might continue to take a beating till normalcy in movement is maintained.
�There is no doubt that the lockdown has taken a toll on the income of the consumers in general. Hence, possibility of bad debts of a sizeable amount too cannot be ruled out in the long run,� a source at Dispur said.
�Since our cash counters are closed it has become imperative for us to shift our focus on online method of payment. If we want to tide over the current scenario, there is no alternative to online payment. Through our initiatives, we are encouraging consumers to pay their electricity bill online,� the source said.
Sources added that even for those whose mobile numbers have not been registered, we are sending them the outstanding bill amount along with payment option.
�As far as restoration is concerned post the recent storm, our team is working on it and most of the areas have been covered,� the source added.