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Web Exclusive | January 2013

Himachal to review 1% charge on online power billing

The Himachal Pradesh government has asked its Electricity Board to review its decision to impose one per cent extra as convenience charges for online payment of consumer power bills. Talking to a leading newspaper, the State Principal Secretary (Power) SKBS Negi said that the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board has been asked to reconsider its decision.

Negi said that the Board has been asked to negotiate with banks and credit card companies regarding imposition of these charges. DK Sharma, an economist who retired as principal adviser (planning), termed it a retrograde step to bill the consumer for paying online.

The electricity board appears to be going back in time rather than moving ahead. Why can't they negotiate with the companies to do away with the extra charge to facilitate consumers, he asked. In its drive to introduce computerised billing in the over 200 electricity sub-divisions in the state, the commercial distribution wing of the board has offered the facility of paying bills online.

Around 125 sub-divisions have started computerised billing. To avoid long queues at cash payment counters of the board, more and more consumers had begun to make their payments online and costs of the transaction was borne either by the board or the banking companies.

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