SOUTHCO distributing unhappiness and stealing smiles

Jeypore Times special on SOUTHCO

"Lighting life of Orissa" & "Distributing power & smiles" you will be greeted by these two tag lines while visiting the website of SOUTHCO, the associate group company of Reliance Energy Limited (REL).
But people of southern Odissa say "SOUTHCO distributing unhappiness and stealing smiles". And this is the fact, the SOUTHCO is showing the virtual hell on earth to the people of southern Orissa with frequent irregular power cuts and low voltages. They aren't even sparing the people on festivals and holidays. There are several complaints and protests against SOUTHCO woes but the ruling government turns a deaf ear to peoples' plight. Know more about SOUTHCO and their role.

What is SOUTHCO?

The acronym SOUTHCO stands for The Southern Electricity Company of Orissa Limited.

What is it's role?

SOUTHCO role is to distribute the retail supply of electricity in the southern parts of Orissa, consisting of districts of Koraput, Rayagada, Ganjam, Nowrangpur, Phulbani, Malkangiri, Khandamal, Gajapati and some parts of Puri.

What's the aim of SOUTHCO?

The main aim of SOUTHCO is to be a successful and efficient electric supply company, responsive to the needs and expectation of the consumers through teamwork innovations by ensuring the development of an efficient and reliable electric supply network  which meets the requirements of diverse group of consumers, development of the company as a learning organisation which consider customer satisfaction as main purpose of business, streamlining of the billing system, revenue collection and other value added services for customers and strengthening of safety, loss reduction activities and promoting environment protection.

What Orissa state government says about SOUTHCO?

People may not be happy but the ruling BJD party is very happy with SOUTHCO and its current CEO. The honorable ministers and BJD MLAs from southern Orissa even sent recommendation letters to the director of SOUTHCO Mr.V.K.Sood to extend the tenure of present CEO quoting him as the best CEO, SOUTHCO ever had.

The reality and what people say

SOUTHCO started functioning in Nov 1998 and started distributing retail supply of electricity in southern Orissa from APR 1999. And since the beginning they are failed in every aspect of fulfilling customer requirements and solving their problems. Irreegular and undeclared power cuts, low voltage of supply are the most common things in southern Orissa. There are numerous protests against irregular power cuts and improper billing all over south Orissa over the years. But SOUTHCO always turned a deaf ear to consumer complaints. Many NGOs and opposition parties are alleging a unholy nexus between the ruling BJD party and REL. Here're the few reasons to support their allegation.

  • REL license for power distribution in Orissa has expired in 2004 and it has not renewed its license till today. The matter related to renewal of license is pending in High court. The matter was taken up with OERC(Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission), but the OERC is not taken any decision yet.

  • The REL had dues amounting Rs.1,814 crore to be paid to the GRIDCO. It has not been paid till date. The company has also denied to deposit around Rs.730 crore towards power bonds and no action has been initiated against them by the government.

  • And the recent letters by four state ministers and 17 BJD MLAs from southern Odissa to the REL to extend the tenure of  CEO of SOUTHCO.

They say these hint at some large scale foul play in power sector and reveals some unholy nexus between the power distribution company in the state and the ruling party. They also demand a CBI probe into the irregularities and corruption in the power sector.

Jeypore people and SOUTHCO

People of Jeypore are the most unhappy customers of SOUTHCO in southern Odissa. Many people said they are fed up with the irregular power cuts. They aren't sparing us even on festivals some complained. SOUTHCO is offering very poor service despite charging heavy tariff  and they are not even attending our complaints some expressed their anger. Based on their complaints Jeypore Times brings you few shocking pictures which shows the efficiency and commitment of the SOUTHCO towards its consumers

A wooden stick serving as a electric pole
A new invention by SOUTHCO. Electric department is using a wooden stick erected by the residents, as a electric pole to distribute power supply lines to the residences in the area.

A slanting electrical pole which may fall down at any time
Watch this slanting pole, it may fall down at any time. People of this area are living in fear. Despite several complaints no action has been taken by electric department officials to rectify this fault. If any unwanted thing happens will SOUTHCO take responsibility?

A damaged electric pole fitted with the clamps
The base of the electric pole is fully damaged and it may fall down at any time. SOUTHCO proved its efficiency by fitting two loose clamps over it. Is it enough?

One of the most common things in southern Orissa
"Transformer with out security fence"
A transformer with out security fence is the most common thing in southern Orissa. Parents of the children of this area are living with constant fear. They told no action has been taken by electricity department despite several complaints. Strengthening the safety is one of the main aim of SOUTHCO as mentioned in their vision. Is this called the strengthening of safety?

The State Revenue Minister Mr.S.N.Patro and SC& ST Development Minister Mr.Lal Bihari Himrika, have recommended Mr Tapan Kumar Mishra name for the extension of tenure as CEO because they feel he is efficient and doing good work. Now the million dollar question people want to know the answer from the ministers is "What does efficiency and good work mean?"

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