It may still be some more time before the Delhi Jal Board can claim to have streamlined its billing process. The Jal Board has not issued bills for water consumption since May this year after irregularities were reported in the calculations for generating the bills.
On Monday, speaking to The Hindu, a senior DJB official said a fresh batch of bills was despatched at the end of July but complaints of inflated bills and inaccurate consumptions details were again reported by consumers.
“The revamped revenue management system requires shifting old data to the new centralised data bank. It is a time consuming process and challenging because there are software compatibility issues that need to be tackled. We are taking the transition a bit slow, but by the end of this year, the whole process [billing] will be streamlined,” the official said.
As per the new revenue management system, data collection is being centralised with each zonal office connected directly to the main DJB server. Consumers can pay their bills at any of the designated offices and their records will automatically be sent to the centralised data centre.
Earlier, the readings were collected and stored in the zonal offices. “The bills used to be generated at the central office, and sometimes the payment details would not be reflected in the bills, so the consumers would be shown an outstanding amount or had to pay a surcharge,” said the official.
To reduce dependence on old data and to bring down the scope of error while tabulating the data, the DJB has also begun trials of hand-held devices to take down meter reading. “Recently, we came across a case where the person had been billed for a time period, which was incorrect, we realised that it was mistake made by the date entry operator. We are in the process of introducing the hand-held devises for meter reading; it will be done on a pilot basis in a few zones in a few weeks. Consumers will be given a bill on the spot and they will be in a position to contest any irregularities,” the official said.
While consumers are dismayed by the recurrent irregularities in the billing, the Board says as long as consumers have proof of payment; they will reverse any arrears that have been shown in their bills.