ISLAMABAD-National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has found serious irregularities in the Discos billing, meter readings, and constituted a committee for probing the discrepancies in the billing.
In a meeting with National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) Chairman Wasim Mukhtar that was attended by members of Authority, the chief executive officers (CEOs) of the state owned power distribution companies (Discos) have acknowledged discrepancies in the billing and informed that action against such officials is underway. During the meeting, Nepra directed all the power distribution companies (Discos) and K-Electric to eradicate the overbilling issues and provide relief to the consumers on an urgent basis. Following consumer’s complaints regarding excessive billing and alleged cheating in meter reading by the power distribution companies (Discos), NEPRA had summoned the CEOs of all the state owned distribution companies and KE to address the issue.
During evaluation of the complaints, the regulator explored discrepancies in the meter reading, blurred picture on the bills, variations between the due date and meter reading dates, which has resulted in the overbilling. Nepra took strict notice of the irregularities observed in the billing of Discos and formulated a high level committee to check the performance of all Discos in light of the recent discrepancies and other issues in Discos and to submit detailed report within one month. The CEOs explained the reason behind the irregularities and informed that action against the relevant officers/officials has already been initiated.
The regulator also directed all CEOs to eradicate all such billing issues and provide relief to the consumers on an urgent basis. The Authority on the basis of the report will initiate legal proceedings against those Discos where irregular bills have been issued. It is pertinent to mention here that a large number of complaints were submitted by the electricity consumers to the Nepra headquarters regarding incorrect meter readings which has resulted in the overbilling. Most of the complaints filed by consumers are related to blurred pictures of the meter reading on electricity bills and wrong date of meter reading.
Since last month, electricity consumers across Pakistan are protesting against the inflated bills. The government is trying to pacify the angry consumers by announcing various measures. However, the government has limited space to provide relief to the consumers.
Although the government wanted to provide an installment plan to the consumers using up to 400 units, but, IMF has only agreed on relief proposal for consumers using up to 200 units. Under the permission Discos will be allowed to collect electricity bills in installments.
Besides, increase in tariff, the other main reasons of the inflated bills were overbilling, recording meter reading after due date, and blurred pictures of the meter reading. In some areas electricity bills are being determined on the bases of table meter readings. Since Discos are facing scarcity of staff, therefore instead of resorting to camera meter reading it is been done manually or not done even at all. In the far flung areas of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan consumers have complained that they don’t see meter readers visits and they are getting bills on mere assumptions. Some consumers have caught the Discos employees red handedly, while doing meter reading after the due dates. The consumers have alleged that the meter reading after due date burdens the consumers with undue money in their bills