Consumers Receive Exorbitant Electricity Bills for Lockdown Months
While the nation-wide Covid-19 lockdown triggered an economic crisis, Indians in several states are now facing another scourge—inflated electricity bills.
Complaints of exorbitant electricity bills were received from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan where residents stated that the amount increased two-fold during the lockdown months.
Following the regulations of restricting movement, the power distribution companies were either unable to send staff or faced difficulty in reaching consumers’ homes to note the metre readings. This meant that the discoms needed to work on a way to collect electricity bills without actually reading meters, reports CNBC.
The Telangana State Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (TSSPDCL) sent its staff members to collect meter readings after three months of lockdown. And later, the consumers were handed over bills based on cumulative consumption of the past three months.
States like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have a graded system of tariffs, where the consumers are charged less for the first few units consumed and gradually the cost of the units consumed increases. Since the electricity providers have been using a similar method, most consumers are paying a much higher sum than they would if meter readings are done every month.
A similar situation was reported in North India where the heatwave gripped in last week of May increasing per capita electricity consumption. Residents of Rajasthan also complained of exorbitant bills during the last three months.
“I used to get a bill of up to Rs 200 to 450. I paid the bill. After that, I received a bill showing 62 units and a payable amount of Rs 2,700. I had gone to the concerned office but they said that nothing will happen this month now,” Ramesh Chand, a consumer told India Today.
Consumers took to Twitter, posting pictures of inflated bills and airing grievances amid pandemic.
However, since there has been no word by the Centre or state government regarding the same, most states can face a similar issue in the coming days.