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Blind leading blind: Navjot Singh Sidhu has not paid electricity bill worth lacs while he gives lectures on solving power crisis in Punjab

PSPCL officials have refused to comment on whether they intend to serve him a notice over his existing power bill. Reportedly, Navjot Singh Sidhu has not paid the electricity bill of his Amritsar home for three months.

In a classic case of the blind leading the blind, on Friday (July 2), Congress heavyweight leader Navjot Singh Sidhu offered solutions to tackle the power crisis in the State of Punjab. However, the plan backfired and Sidhu was instead called out for defaulting on his own electricity payments.

At the very onset, Navjot Singh Sidhu claimed that it was possible to supply uninterrupted electricity for 24 hours to the people of Punjab. He claimed, “There is No need for Power-Cuts in Punjab or for the Chief Minister to regulate office timings or AC use of the Common People…”

“If we Act in the right direction…Punjab is buying Power at an average cost of Rs. 4.54 per unit, National Average is Rs. 3.85 per unit & Chandigarh is paying Rs. 3.44 per unit.” He added that Punjab is over-dependent on 3 privately owned Thermal plants, which charged between ₹5 – ₹8 per unit,” he clarified.

Navjot Singh Sidhu had accused the previous Badal government of signing Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with 3 private Thermal power plants. He further alleged that the government had paid ₹5400 until 2020 and is expected to shell out an additional ₹65000 as fixed charges.

Sidhu noted, “Punjab can purchase power from National Grid at much cheaper rates, but these Badal-signed PPAs are acting against Punjab’s Public Interest. Punjab may not be able to re-negotiate these PPAs due to them having legal protection from Hon’ble Courts, But there is a way forward..”

In another tweet, the Congress leader urged the Punjab government to bring in a legislative measure retrospectively and cap purchase costs to protect the taxpayer’s money. “Punjab’s revenue per unit of consumption is one of the lowest in India, due to gross mismanagement of the complete power purchase & supply system … PSPCL pays Rs. 0.18 per unit “Extra” on every unit supplied, even after receiving over 9000 Crore in Subsidy from the State,” he emphasised.

He added, “Renewable Energy is becoming cheaper along with being environmental-friendly, But Punjab’s potential from Solar & BioMass Energy remains unutilised even though Central financial schemes can be availed for these projects. PEDA spends its time just on energy efficiency awareness…”

Navjot Singh Sidhu said, “Punjab already gives 9000 Crore Power Subsidy but Delhi gives only 1699 Crore as Power Subsidy. If Punjab copies Delhi Model, we will get merely 1600-2000 Crore as Subsidy. To better serve the People of Punjab – Punjab needs an Original Punjab Model, Not a copied Model.” He also said that the money spent on unreasonable Thermal plants must be used for providing power subsidy imnstead.

Doublespeak of Navjot Singh Sidhu

Despite talking in detail about the need to conserve energy, it has come to light that Navjot Singh Sidhu is yet to clear his dues of ₹8,67,540. Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL)’s websites showed that the last date for clearing the bills was July 2.

However, PSPCL officials have refused to comment on whether they intend to serve him a notice over his existing power bill. Reportedly, Navjot Singh Sidhu has not paid the electricity bill of his Amritsar home for three months.

Screengrab of the power bill of Navjot Singh Sidhu

“Normally, a connection is temporarily disconnected if the consumer fails to make the bill payment within a month. Following the pandemic, we have asked the consumers to pay in instalments. We will find out why the payment has not been made,” an official said when asked if the electric connection of Navjot Singh Sidhu was disconnected. While Navjot Singh Sidhu has been advocating to resolve the power crisis in the state, his lack of public accountability

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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