CHENNAI: The Chennai collectorate and the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) are locked in a dispute over power bill arrears of Rs 6 lakh that have accrued apparently due to undercharging.
Officers at the collectorate, which has ten floors and houses various government offices, said they were paying the electricity bills regularly. However, TNEBofficials noticed that they have undercharged the collectorate over a period of eight months. As per the tariff, TNEB charges Rs 4.80 per unit for all state government offices. But in the case of the collectorate, TNEB charged only Rs 3.3 per unit, which went unnoticed. “The new tariff had come into effect in August 2010. We have to find out why the tariff was not reflected in the collectorate’s electricity bill,” a senior TNEB official said.
Tariff for government and aided educational institutions is Rs 4.80 per unit and there is also a fixed charge of Rs 50 per service for two months. For municipality, corporation, village and town panchayat buildings, the tariff is Rs 3.40 and there is no fixed charge for services.
Asked whether this was the only instance, he said he did not find any other case like this. “In future, we have to be careful,” he said.
When TNEB officials went to the collectorate and informed about the arrears, bewildered officials refused to pay the amount and asked the TNEB higher authorities to give an explanation. Even when the board gave a detailed explanation about their fault in undercharging, collectorate officials refused to pay the money immediately since the amount is huge. A senior official from the collectorate said: “Since we can’t pay such huge money, we have asked time till this month-end and they (TNEB) have also accepted our request,” he said.
According to the details given by TNEB sources, the city collectorate has been paying on an average Rs 26,000 bi-monthly for their electricity usage. “They should have paid Rs 33,000. Now the arrears is Rs 6,08,000,” the sources informed.
The collectorate building which is situated on Rajaji Salai is maintained by the PWD. There is also fast track court on the premises.