Power billing in excess: consumers

Dedicated WhatsApp number launched to rectify errors

Since Tangedco did not undertake an assessment of meters in the city during the lockdown, thousands of domestic consumers have raised complaints of exorbitant billing.

When the State government announced a lockdown from May 10, the Tangedco extended its window for payment of electricity bills, temporarily halting door-to-door assessment after meter assessors refused to do the job fearing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initially, Tangedco announced that consumers would have to pay electricity bills from 2019. But after several complaints, domestic consumers were asked to self assess meters and send the readings to local officials for updation. Domestic consumers have since been highlighting billing problems due to the stopping of door-to-door assessment.

Some said they had been billed for locked houses. New tenants who occupied houses recently cited high electricity bills and in some cases, there was no billed amount as the house was kept locked in 2019.

Activists say because several local officials are not on WhatsApp, consumers are not able to send images of meter readings. A section of consumers are also aggrieved about officials harassing them by asking them to visit local electricity offices to know and update their bills.

A senior Tangedco official said they were receiving hundreds of complaints about such issues. To rectify them, a dedicated WhatsApp facility, 9445850811, had been launched. More than one lakh bills from electricity consumers had been corrected and uploaded, he said.

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