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Home News Power Sector News Inflated power bills in Delhi - No solution to customers so far

Inflated power bills in Delhi - No solution to customers so far

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SheilaAfter various Residents’ Welfare Associations met Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit nearly 10 days ago to voice their grievances regarding the issue of inflated power bills by private Discom BSES, a flurry of probes are underway. Consumers, meanwhile, continue to run from pillar to post to clear out the problem. Discom BSES is studying every complaint lodged with it individually, while the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) is conducting an independent probe into the 150-odd complaints it has received so far. Consumers have also filed complaints with the government’s Public Grievance Cell.

Reasons for the sudden surge in bills, however, continue to remain unclear. The DERC has also roped in the Standardization, Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) directorate affiliated to the Ministry of Information Technology to conduct a detailed testing of the billing software
used by BSES. In addition, the DERC has also requested the Central Power Research Institute (CPRI), Hyderabad, to conduct independent tests on meters of consumers whose bills have shown a 50-per cent hike above average, provided those consumers have filed a complaint directly with DERC.

Media met a few peeved consumers.

Nanki Awathi Ramani

The 75-year-old retired assistant Income Tax commissioner is a resident of B-2 in Safdarjung Enclave. Ramani received a bill of Rs 23,000 for the month of August. Her average bills, during the corresponding period in the past few years, have ranged from Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,500.

“I wrote to the BSES about the issue. Their reply was most disappointing, as they saw absolutely no problem with my bill. I have now written to the Lieutenant-Governor and a few others. I absolutely refuse to pay this bill,” Ramani said.

Ramani is among the unfortunate 60,000-odd people who received inflated bills in August due to a glitch in the discom’s billing software. Even after taking the anomaly into account, the hike in her bill is enormous. “This, despite the fact that during the peak of summer we did not have power for as long as five to six hours on several days,” she added.

Dr Shamsher Bahadur
A 65-year-old retired doctor, Shamsher Bahadur is a resident of Safdarjung’s B-3 Block. His average bills over the last three summers have ranged between Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000.

Two weeks ago, Bahadur received his latest bill of Rs 7,090, over 50 per cent more than his average bills. Flipping through a file of neatly stacked bills for the last few years, Bahadur said: “I have filed a complaint with the BSES and am waiting to see what happens. We will not pay this bill, till my complaint is resolved.”

Anil Kumar Sehgal
Fifty-nine-year-old Anil Kumar Sehgal was among the residents who met Chief Minister Dikshit about the issue. “The CM assured us the matter will be looked into. Since then various investigations have started. The issue will hopefully be resolved soon,” he said. Sehgal received a bill of Rs 22,390 this August, as against his average bill of Rs 6,500 to Rs 7,500 in the last two summers.

“After I lodged a complaint with the BSES, they sent someone to check the meter. The meter, they say is working perfectly fine. How is it then that my bill has shot up three-fold?” Sehgal asks.

Rajiv Roy
A resident of CR Park, Roy’s power bill for the month of August has nearly doubled. From an average of approximately Rs 6,000, Roy’s bill came to Rs 13,812. His meter, meanwhile, has been certified as functioning properly by the BSES,

“We will now file a complaint directly with the DERC,” he said.

Reasons offered by BSES offered for billing hike
* Withdrawal of a 10-per cent subsidy for power consumers provided by the government. Subsidy was withdrawn from May 31 this year.
* Exceptionally hot weather this summer that led to a surge in consumption.
* Compressor-based gadgets require more power to function when the ambient temperature is very harsh

Source - Indian Express

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