With field workers not going house to house to take meter readings during the lockdown, residents have been getting steep power bills — in some cases up to Rs 15,000 — for one month of usage. These bills, officials said, are being prepared without subsidies calculated into the total amount, leading to some confusion among customers.
The BSES, which runs two sub-discoms — the BYPL and the BRPL — has been issuing provisional electricity bills ever since the lockdown was imposed and the field workers of the company were unable to go on-spot for meter readings. The discom has allowed customers to check the meters themselves, and apply for a revised bill as per protocol.
However, in many cases, bills have been inflated despite providing meter readings and residents are now having to approach discoms offices to rectify the errors.
Sushil Kothari (43), a salesperson living in Harsh Nagar, said he had been noting readings and sending it to the BSES. He said, “For May, I consumed 176 units, but I still got a provisional electricity bill of over Rs 2,000.” Kothari lives with his family and has one air conditioner in his house. On June 26, he reached out to BSES again and got the matter rectified. “I got it checked, and my bill came out to be zero,” he said.
“For bills raised till June 30, 2020, consumers can get a rebate of up to Rs 220 in their electricity bills. All they have to do is pay their bills within 7 days of bill generation and do ‘self meter reading’ of their electricity usage. This will ensure that apart from getting the rebate, they can also get electricity bills based on actual meter reading and not provisional reading,” BSES officials said.
The formula being used to set the amount billed in the provisional bills is set by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC). “Such provisional bills will get regularised in future when the actual meter reading for the provisional period is available,” said BSES official.
As per the DERC order, due to the lack of regular staff to do meter readings, discoms were directed to issue provisional bills to customers. As per an information bulletin released by the BSES Delhi in May, the provisional bills are based on the corresponding power consumption of the same month last year. If this reading is unavailable, then the average consumption of preceding three billing cycles is used. The discom has also placed a moratorium on fixed charges till June 30. The accumulated charges will be spread over the next three billing cycles after June 30.
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