East Delhi RWAs condemn “illegal arm-twisting by BYPL”, snapping of connections without notice

For not paying his electricity bill on time, Manoj Sharma had recovery agents knocking at his door. The Krishna Nagar resident said agents often come calling in his East Delhi neighbourhood especially round the time when the women are alone at home.

“It is a usual practice in East Delhi. Even if anyone is behind by a month, the agents come, threaten the women, sometimes demand money and then leave,” he said.

Several residents’ welfare associations in East Delhi have now come together demanding action against the power company BYPL, at whose behest the recovery agents come calling. The RWAs have condemned “the illegal arm-twisting methods being adopted by the discom” to extract due bills from the residents.

“After the recent hefty hike allowed by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, private power discoms have sent hefty power bills to residents, which are almost a 100 per cent more than the bills during the same period in the previous year. On top of that the company is sending private goons to threaten and collect bills to those who have missed the payment date. Most of the consumers being threatened have received bills for more than Rs.2,000. In a few cases the agents have taken away electricity meters also,” said Anil Bajpai, president RWA Federation, Delhi (East).

Mr. Bajpai said a number of consumers in Krishna Nagar, Preet Vihar, New Seelampur and Laxmi Nagar have complained that the agents usually come round the time when the women are alone at home. “A lot of consumers have claimed that the agents came on the pretext of checking the meters and then without a warning disconnected supply. In some cases, the supply was restored after they paid some money,” Mr. Bajpai said.

RWA functionaries said as per DERC norms consumers can pay their bills even after the due date, by paying the late fee charges apart from the due amount. “Even for disconnecting power a proper notice has to be given, which is not being followed before,” he said.

The DERC said it is yet to receive a complaint from the consumers about recovery agents misbehaving and threatening them with disconnection of supply. “We will take action if something is reported to us,” said a senior official of the Regulatory Commission.

For their part, the discom denies sending recovery agents and called them “impostors”. “We strongly refute these allegations. These people seem to be impostors. BYPL urges customers to guard against unscrupulous elements out to make a quick buck in a clandestine manner and tarnish the company’s image. We urge customers not to get intimidated by their threats and false assurances, whatever be the reason. BYPL does not collect cash from customers at their residences,” said a company spokesperson.

The company has advised consumers to ascertain and verify the identity of persons, claiming to be from BYPL who visit their premises. “BYPL disconnects defaulters after following the laid-down guidelines and after serving them disconnection notice,” the spokesperson said, adding, “The consumers can alert the nearest BYPL office or call 39999808 or inform the local police by dialling 100.”

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