State-run electric corporations or even companies hardly make any profit. Common problems associated with such loss-making units are load-shedding, poor outreach, irregular power supply and inordinate delay in restoration of snapped power lines, transformers etc. The power companies have not learnt yet how to work for profit. Most of these companies were earlier government corporations and still running on government aids. The attitude of employees and officers in these companies is still similar to any other government offices. There is no reward for performance in these companies. What matters in promotion is only seniority and degrees. The result is evident. Red tape runs deep into the system and public remains the ultimate sufferers.

The issue of non-supply of power to three villages along Meghalaya-Assam border for past one year was raised by Opposition Leader Donkupar Roy in the ongoing Meghalaya legislative assembly session. Transformers in these villages are not functioning anymore. To the question about the delay in restoration of the transformer, power minister Clement Marak’s reply was that the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Ltd (MeECL) will do it soon, but it will depend on the recovery of the outstanding bills. One of the villages, Khahsyndha, has an outstanding of over Rs 7 lakh. According to the minister, the villagers did not pay a single penny since got power connectivity.

The minister is, apparently, justified in the MeECL’s reluctance in restoring power to these villages. But, is that a solution? Do the huge outstanding bills mean all the consumers in the village are bad? The minister stressed the need for bringing awareness among the villagers about good consumer behaviour, but what he failed to point out that MeECL has not made any attempt to understand the reason behind the villagers’ attitude. It’s not one or two villagers, who are not paying the bills, but the entire village is defaulter! There must be something seriously wrong. Some of the reasons may be highly irregular supply, low voltage etc. MeECL must try to understand the root of the problem and not make a decision on the basis superficial ideas. On one hand, people should not remain without power, on the other MeECL being a revenue earning entity should know how to do the business.

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on March 19, 2016)

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