Lucknow power distribution goes in private hands

The Yogi Adityanath-led cabinet on Friday approved a proposal handing electricity distribution in five Uttar Pradesh cities — Lucknow, Meerut, Moradabad, Varanasi and Gorakhpur — to private franchisees, a decision that has sparked a sharp reaction from power employees’ unions and consumer forums.

These cities follow Agra in adopting the franchisee model; for nearly a decade, Torrent Power has been supplying power to the city.

A government spokesman said the decision to introduce the franchisee model for power distribution in the five cities was taken to make the state’s power sector financially self-reliant, by checking line losses and getting the required capital investment for improving supply. He said there will be no change in the tariff pattern.

“The government got an independent study conducted in Agra and found that the private franchisee there had invested Rs 800 crore, line losses had drastically reduced and consumer satisfaction has gone up on all parameters,” he said.

The spokesman said the employees of the state-run utility, UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL), in the cities where the franchisee system is proposed, have an option to work with the franchisee, with its consent, on deputation, with no reduction in their salary.

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