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Business & Finance

Electricity consumers 'overcharged' in July & August: NEPRA report

  • 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)
Published December 4, 2023 Updated December 5, 2023

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.

Business community irked over ‘mounting’ power prices

"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.

Consumers of some Discos subsidise consumers of other other Discos: experts

"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.

Comments

200 characters
KU Dec 04, 2023 10:33pm
These rascals have no remorse or any idea about the anguish they caused to poor consumers, especially farmers when they got bills of over Rs. 200K for tube wells. Will they be penalized? Nope, because they are part of the nefarious Raj, and they assume they are the ultimate faithful ever seen.
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Builder Dec 04, 2023 11:46pm
I've always been saying that entire power management and distribution department is overcharging consumers. NEPRA has been approving the hikes without any accountability. Therefore, NEPRA chairmans should be held accountable now. The culprits should get punished for fooling entire nation.
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Qasim Dec 05, 2023 05:19am
This video's s just eye candy for the public. There will be no accountability, no consequences for what they did.
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Aam Aadmi Dec 05, 2023 07:11am
Was NEPRA asleep when all this was going on? Sitting in their cosy air-conditioned offices, they must be having a sound sleep when the common man was getting scorched with heat during hours of loadshedding. All those responsible for overcharging, including WAPDA Chairman, should be jailed with heavy penalties. I am afraid in this land of utter lawlessness where there is no accountability, nothing would happen. Nothing.
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saif khan Dec 05, 2023 08:35am
simply gov ko nepra ko khtam karna chahiye is mehkmy ne choro compnies ko mukmal protection di har month main 2 se 3 martba unit price main izafa kia bina awam ko sunny so nepra brabar ka zimmydar ha in sab choriyon main...chairman nepra bhi accountable ha is sary kam main..
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Mephisto Dec 05, 2023 09:18am
Why dont they go prepaid, top up electricity? Bills ka masla he khatam ho jaye.
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Ashfaq Kassim Dec 05, 2023 05:11pm
Now it is NEPRA to arrange the refund to All Disco's Consumers including K-Electric. As it is a practice, that they do not take the Meter Reading, timely, as per rules, hence after 300 Units, the more cost and taxes are automatically charged in the bills, as they report 300 Units or more, to charge more and get more profit.
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Bs Dec 05, 2023 07:59pm
These discos are not only overcharging but also collecting extra taxes on behalf of FBR. The PHL Surcharge in the bills since last almost one year has nothing to do with actual supply of electricity, however, the discos are collecting sales rax on this surcharge as well and even NEPRA is keeping silent on this issue. The ultimate looser is off course, common man.
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Sabiha Rana Dec 10, 2023 07:19am
NEPRA is partner in the crime. It keeps eyes closed. Perhaps nothing will happen. Only few millions of fine to these companies will not give relief to poor consumers. NEPRA should be abolished as it is a burden on the public.
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