The Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL) on Wednesday admitted to discrepancies in monthly electricity dues of customers, saying that minor anomalies were there for a while, but this time it became apparent.
Addressing the media today at Bijulee Bhawan in Guwahati, APDCL Customer Relations Advisor Abhijit Sarma Barua said that the company is prepared to take customer complaints in that regard.
The power distribution company further urged customers to come forward register their complaints if they are finding anomalies in their bills.
Taking questions, the senior official mentioned that there can be several reasons behind the sudden hike in monthly dues some of which may be the excessive use of fans and Air Conditioners (ACs) during the summer months, fault in the meter readings and so on.
He further admitted to lapse on the part of the company employees saying that some employees make bills by taking estimation, without taking actual readings from the meter boxes.
Barua said, “The monthly bills of even our own employees have risen by around 10 per cent. The foremost reason for this hike is the excessive use of ACs during the summer months. The increase in general electricity tariff is due to excessive energy consumption.”
He said, “Considering hike in fuel prices for the Fuel and Power Purchase Price Adjustment (FPPPA), since September, there has been a hike of 30 paise per unit, which means without the discretion of customers, there has been a slight hike in electricity tariff.”
The senior official further said, “There is no connection between hike in tariff and the newly installed smart meter boxes, however, we cannot rule out that they may be faulty.”
Barua also mentioned that bills to the tune of Rs 4 to 5 lakhs that some customers received are definitely false. This may have been caused due to a fault in computation or a mistake in the meter readings.
He said, “The issue of faults in the meter boxes is being handled by officials of GM and CGM level. We are taking it very seriously. Minor anomalies have been there for a while, but this time, due to discrepancies on a larger scale, it became apparent to the public.”
“We have received complaints regarding around 200 smart meter boxes. Abnormal electricity tariff increases will be investigated,” added the customer relations official.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, APDCL had released a helpline number where customers can register complaints regarding anomalies in monthly dues.
Speaking on that, Barua further clarified that registering complaints itself will not necessarily mean that customers will get a discounted bill.