- Authority says it took 'serious notice' upon complaints reported in its offices from all over country regarding excessive, inflated, and wrong bills charged by distribution companies (Discos)
Thousands of electricity consumers in Pakistan got fleeced in the months of July and August this year, an inquiry report by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) revealed on Monday.
The report found that the consumers were charged by the distribution companies (Discos) for more than 40 days billing.
“This was the major cause of overbilling during the months of July, 2023 & August, 2023. In this regard, MEPCO followed by GEPCO, FESCO, LESCO and HESCO are the Discos who heavily done such overbilling. Overall, all Discos are responsible for such unjustified exercise,” NEPRA said.
The report recommended legal proceedings against power distribution companies (Discos), including K-Electric Limited (KEL), under NEPRA Fine Regulations, 2021 for violation of the provisions of NEPRA Act, CSM (Consumer Service Manual) and tariff terms & conditions etc.
"It is very unfortunate that distribution companies are deliberately carrying out such malpractices in order to hide their inefficiencies due to which thousands of consumers suffered with higher electricity bills," the authority said.
According to the report, Discos failed to carry out the mechanism of percentage checking as provided in the Consumer Service Manual (CSM). Moreover, detection bills were charged in violation of Clause 9.1 and 9.2 of CSM.
It may be noted that the Clauses 9.1 and 9.2 of CSM provide a procedure for charging detection bills.
"It has been observed that the detection bills charged by Discos are fake and frivolous due to which recovery ratio is very less in some Discos," the report said.
NEPRA said it conducted an inquiry upon the complaints which were reported in its offices from all over the country regarding excessive, inflated, and wrong bills charged by the distribution companies to the consumers during the months i.e. July 2023 and August 2023.
In this regard, the authority added, a hearing was held on November 13, 2023, wherein CEOs of all the distribution companies participated online and expressed their point of views before the authority.
"It was noted during the course of proceedings that the numerous distribution companies are charging meter readings, whereby snaps readings differ from the readings recorded on the consumers’ bills.
"In other cases, snaps of meter reading are either invisible or deliberately not taken. Similarly, some cases were reported that monthly meter readings are being taken beyond billing cycle of 30 days, which resulted in undue/inflated charging of upper slab bills to the less user consumer(s) hence, changing category from protected to un-protected," the report said.