New meters were diverted to flood-hit areas, say officials
Department chooses to religiously stick to norms while billing customers
Amount calculated based on the previous three months’ bills
VIJAYAWADA: Electricity bills can be tricky. Faulty or inflated bills landing at the doorstep of unsuspecting consumers and having them pay huge amounts through their nose is becoming less uncommon. To add to the consumers’ woes, the department concerned has in place rules that quite well suit its style of functioning.
The electricity bills paid for power consumption by nearly 120 households in the domestic sector in the city in last couple of months was not in proportion to the actual amount of electricity consumed by them.
But interestingly, most of the consumers were not even aware of the anomaly, thanks to the ‘failure’ of the department to replace faulty electricity meters during this period. Department personnel attribute the shortage of meters to the recent floods that ravaged parts of the city.
Submersion of the low-lying areas in the deluge that marooned large parts of the city resulted in complete damage to the electricity meters in the affected areas.
The limited stocks of the meters available with the department were diverted to these areas as part of the rehabilitation works aimed at restoring normalcy in the flood-hit areas.
Hole in the pocket
Meanwhile, households in the domestic sector that had damaged meters had to shell out for no fault of theirs. Meanwhile the department chose to religiously stick to its norm of calculating an average amount based on the previous three months’ bills. Some of the families who had used air-conditioners in the summer months and had incurred additional cost but continued to receive bills with similar figures even while sleeping without fans were flabbergasted.
It was only after the matter was taken up with the departmental personnel that the issue of the shortage of meters came to light.