Blacklisted customers of Nepal Electricity Authority have 15 days to pay their electricity bills. If they fail to clear their outstanding dues within the set deadline, the state-owned power company has warned of depriving them of various public services and even seek legal remedy.
NEA has blacklisted a total of 33,660 customers across the country so far for continuously refusing to pay electricity bills. They owe a total of Rs 648.20 million to the state-owned firm.
NEA generally does not take action against customers even if they do not pay their bills for up to 60 days. After this, the company can suspend service extended to customers any time. If customers fail to pay the bills within six months of suspension of service, they are blacklisted.
“These blacklisted customers have been given enough time to clear their dues. If they fail to pay their bills, we will take action against them,” said Ram Chandra Pandey, deputy managing director at NEA.
NEA has warned of suspending any line subscribed by blacklisted customers and their family members if they fail to pay the due amount within the next 15 days. If they do not abide by the instruction till the time given to them, their names and personal details of family members spanning three generations will be published in newspapers and broadcast on television and radio, Pandey said.
“If this measure also fails to yield positive results, we will ask district administrative offices, offices of surveys, district development committees, and other public service delivery units not to entertain them until they clear the dues.”
If all these measures fail to recover the due amount, NEA is mulling over dragging the blacklisted customers to court.
NEA has long been a victim of payment defaults by various customers, which it says has deteriorated the financial health of the company and generated problems in cash flow.
As of mid-February, various customers defaulted in payments worth Rs 3.75 billion, which is around 14 per cent of NEA’s annual revenue of approximately Rs 28 billion.
“Of this amount, almost Rs 1.70 billion is owed by various municipalities and village development committees that use our electricity for lighting the roads, et cetera,” Pandey said. “Among others, ministries and different government offices have not settled electricity bills of around Rs 500 million.”
Source : The Himalayan Times