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Electricity Overbilling Affects Millions: NEPRA

Electricity Overbilling Affects Millions: NEPRA.

A shocking National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) report exposes rampant irregularities in electricity billing, with millions of consumers unfairly overcharged.

Read More: Nepra Greenlights Rs1.25 per unit Increase in Power Tariff

Key findings paint a grim picture:

  • Extended billing cycles: Discos like K-Electric stretched the standard 30-day cycle to 40 days, impacting 10 million consumers.
  • Inflated charges: Over 5.1 million received 32-day bills, 2.5 million got 33-day ones, and a staggering 249,000 endured 40-day cycles.
  • Unequal burden: Even low-consumption households weren’t spared, slapped with bills not reflecting actual meter readings.

NEPRA’s response is swift and serious:

  • Committee formed: A dedicated team will investigate overbilling complaints within 30 days.
  • Legal action initiated: Errant discos face the music, with notices and legal proceedings underway.
  • Discos on notice: They must fix meters, rectify bills, and adhere to established rules.

The report digs deeper, revealing:

  • Millions overcharged for 30+ days: MEPCO leads the pack (5.7 million), followed by GEPCO, FESCO, LESCO, and HESCO.
  • Slabs and statuses flipped: Thousands shifted from lower to higher slabs, protected to unprotected, and lifeline to non-lifeline due to incorrect billing.
  • Invalid meter readings: Thousands received bills with faulty snapshots, with MEPCO, LESCO, QESCO, and SEPCO topping the list.
  • Excessive billing: Thousands, especially under MEPCO, GEPCO, FESCO, LESCO, and HESCO, were charged for over 40 days, a major cause of inflated bills.
  • Defective meters ignored: Clause 4.3 of the Consumer Service Manual mandates immediate replacement, but thousands faced average billing for months or even years due to disco negligence.

NEPRA slams the discos for deliberate malpractices to hide inefficiencies, resulting in:

  • CSM violations: Discos breached clauses 4.3, 6.1.1, 6.1.3, & 6.2, and tariff terms approved by NEPRA.
  • Percentage checking ignored: CSM mandates such checks, but discos failed to comply.
  • Detection billing abuse: Hundreds of thousands received these bills illegally, violating CSM clauses 9.1 and 9.2.

NEPRA proposes strong action:

  • Replace defective meters immediately: All meters over 2 months old must be replaced within 2 months.
  • Review inflated bills: Discos must collaborate with PITC to identify and rectify bills that caused category changes (protected/lifeline to unprotected/non-lifeline) due to overbilling or excessive billing cycles since June 2023.

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This is a wake-up call for the electricity sector. NEPRA’s firm stance and proposed solutions offer a ray of hope for millions unfairly burdened by inflated bills.

Will discos mend their ways, or will NEPRA’s hammer continue to fall? Only time will tell.

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