IESCO’s negligence costs thousands to poor consumers
* Consumers allegedly being sent bills based on random readings
* Complain of malpractice in metre-reading
ISLAMABAD: Charging random billing and continuous negligence of top officials of Islamabad Electricity Supply Company (IESCO) is costing thousands of rupees to poor consumers.
It is very common in twin cities that consumers receive electricity bills on the basis of random meter reading and scores of meter readers deployed for taking monthly reading do not approach their designated areas.
These meter readers continue recording random reading by sitting in offices and without visiting the designated places and houses and the departments without counter-checking if there was any anomaly, send the bills to consumers.
Consequently after random reading of three to four months the units shown by the meters reach to hundreds and sometimes thousands. Thereafter, the authority sends cumulative bill in thousands not only astonishing and agonising the consumers, but also opening avenues for corruption.
The recent incident was noted in new settlements in the suburbs of the capital like PWD Colony, Korang Town and Pakistan Town where certain consumers are receiving electricity bills based on random reading.
As the area falls in the jurisdiction of Korang sub-division, this scribe tried to contact the officials responsible for the area. But, it was amazing to note that neither the EXEN nor the SDO of the area were available on designated number.
Most of the consumers believe that these numbers were given on the utility bills just to hoodwink the consumers as none of these responsible officials could be reached to register the complaint.
It is also very common that the meter readers deployed in this sub-division especially Pakistan Town do not regularly visit their area for reading. So, their negligence becomes a nuisance for the consumers when they all of a sudden receive heavy bills comprising the reading of the previous months.
Since there are different rates for different slabs, charging bills for cumulative units means to charge rates of top slab to the consumers who even use nominal electricity. Such billings also means fleecing thousands from the poor consumers by charging additional GST surcharges that increase considerably when the units fall in the category of top slabs.
“Why we are penalised for the fault what we have not committed. It is negligence of the meter readers, but consumers have to pay for it and there is nobody to heed our problem,” said a consumer.
It shocks such ordinary bread-earners of their families when they receive the bill in thousands sent to them on the basis of cumulative units. “We pay our bills regularly. But, if these bills are issued on the basis of random reading, it is not our fault,” said a consumer.
Some consumers have also complained that after sending heavy bills or after knowing that reading of a meter crosses 2000 to 3000 units, they themselves approach the consumers to correct the reading and claim almost half of the estimated cost. Thereon they take away the meters and then return after reversing the reading. This malpractice very much continues even in the posh localities in the suburbs of the capital and the IESCO is least bothered to save the consumers from this day light robbery.
The consumers have demanded from the new government as well as new Water and Power minister to immediately take notice of this corruption to save the consumers and ensure the money goes to national kitty instead the pockets of corrupt officials and meter readers. app