A RS 19 lakh electricity bill, issued to a Mohali resident on Monday, is nothing really big, if you consider two consecutive bills, amounting to Rs 12.82 crore, received by the owner of a factory which has been lying closed since last year. In the past, it had been getting bills of around Rs 7,000.
Guljeet Singh, the factory owner, received electricity bills asking him to pay Rs 6.14 crore and Rs 6.68 crore for the last two cycles. Officials said that it was a “routine error due to faulty meter, which jumped and showed the wrong reading”.
Interestingly, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited on Thursday terminated his electricity connection for failing to pay Rs 7,000 from a previous bill.
Guljeet, a resident of Phase 3B2 (Sector 60), who owns a machine tool manufacturing factory in Industrial Area Phase 9, said that despite sending a complaint to the PSPCL, his “inflated” bills had not been rectified.
“Due to health problems, I shut down my factory last April after 25 years. After that, a very small amount of electricity is being consumed as a guard stays there. Since April, I had been paying around Rs 7,000 as the monthly bill. But in December, I got the shock of my life when the bill amount read Rs 6,14,58,150,” said Guljeet.
The bill was issued for a period of three months from September 10 to December 10. And according to the reading of the meter, there was consumption of 272 units in September which jumped to 92.45 lakh units the next month, allegedly due to an error.
Guljeet then made a representation to the PSPCL sub-divisional officer. However, another surprise awaited him. On Monday, he got a bill asking him to pay Rs 6,68,15,820 for a period of 31 days from December 10 to January 10.
Complaints of inflated bills are routinely reported in Mohali, and according to officials, they are rectified after consumers approach them. A few days ago, Sector 69 resident Jagmohan Singh Kahlon got a bill of nearly Rs 19 lakh for his one-kanal house.
PSPCL executive engineer A K Sharma, when contacted, said, “Sometimes, due to fault in the meters, a digit jumps and escalates the reading, leading to implausible amounts. In this case, the consumer will have to challenge the amount, after which his meter will be sent to a laboratory for testing. Once the results are out, his bill will be rectified as per the norms.”
Sharma added, “However, we have not removed his connection due to these implausible bills. His bill of Rs 7,000 from a previous cycle was pending.”