Sixteen additional urban towns in Arunachal Pradesh have been integrated into the state's e-billing and payment platform for electricity bills. Chief Minister Pema Khandu, along with Deputy Chief Minister and Minister in-charge of Power Chowna Mein inaugurated the initiative on August 24.
This development brings the count of urban towns utilizing the state's digital electricity payment system to 25, enabling consumers to conveniently settle their electricity bills through various digital payment methods.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu applauded the Department of Power's efforts, stating, "This is a significant step towards digitally empowering the people, and I commend the Department of Power for their initiative." He emphasized that this move not only alleviates consumers from the need to visit power department offices physically but also contributes to increased transparency and accountability within the department.
Khandu expressed his conviction that the utilization of digital payment systems is pivotal in preventing revenue leakage. He spoke on the significance of incorporating information technology in revenue collection, especially as the power department is expected to emerge as a major revenue generator, driven by the completion of proposed hydropower projects.
Responding to the department's proposal for an autonomous division or cell for IT-based consumer services, Chief Minister Khandu assured that he would promptly approve the proposal.
Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein shed light on the state's power scenario, indicating that while the state boasts a surplus of power, the absence of efficient transmission lines has hindered its optimal utilization. He acknowledged that the slow pace of laying transmission lines, due to a significant portion of the state's area being under reserved forests, is a challenge. He mentioned efforts taken with the Union Ministry of Power to address this issue and highlighted that once the transmission lines are established, power shortages would be alleviated.
The recent integration of 16 towns onto the online payment platform brings the total number of connected urban towns to 25 out of the state's 49 notified urban areas, catering to a total of 117,579 consumers.
The newly onboarded towns include Tawang, Bomdila, Dirang, Basar, Koloriang, Boleng, Yingkiong, Sagalee, Changlang, Longding, Miao, Jairampur, Deomali, Khonsa, Anini, and Hawai. This addition follows the earlier integration of nine towns – Itanagar, Naharlagun, Daporijo, Ziro, Aalo, Pasighat, Roing, Tezu, and Namsai – in the first phase of the initiative.
In celebration of the launch, a representative consumer from each of the 16 towns made their electricity bill payments online, virtually participating in the event.
The Department of Power introduced a Customer Care Centre in June 2020, reachable by dialing '1912,' available from 9:30 AM to 4 PM on working days. Consumers can also access services via the department's social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
As part of their digital enhancement efforts, the department is in the process of developing a new app for bill payments, set to be released by September. Simultaneously, the department is revamping its web portal to enhance its functionality. The goal is to transition to 100 per cent digital billing and payment for all consumer categories by March 2025.
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