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Delhiites Receiving Higher Power Bills Amid Lockdown

New Delhi:  Amid the Covid-19 induced lockdown, the national capital has faced higher power bills with several people complaining of getting bills much more than their usual charges, while the BSES said that provisional bills are being served as readings could not be taken due to the lockdown.

Speaking to IANS, Anurag Dodwal, one of the residents who has been served a higher bill, said the income has gone down drastically amid the lockdown, so the family is cutting down on the expenses.

“We, a family of seven, are cutting down our expenses. We are also using minimum electricity. Our electricity bill usually came between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500, and even zero in some months. In April, our bill was Rs 600 and we paid it. Now in May, it is Rs 3,100. They (the BSES) are not sending anyone for reading and are charging people based on some calculations,” the 35-year-old told IANS.

Similar issue was faced by Anshuman Bhargava, a resident of Krishan Nagar, who said that while his bill was zero for the past several months before the lockdown, in May, it jumped to Rs 11,000.

“Since March, no one has come for the reading. However, we have been receiving bills. In March it was Rs 3,000 and in April the bill was Rs 7,000. In May the bill is for Rs 11,000. Now they have revised the bill after I submitted my latest reading online. However, they are saying the money which I have already paid in the last two months — over 10, 000 — will be adjusted in the coming month,” Bhargava told IANS.

He said while the money will be adjusted, his amount is stuck with the BSES for so long.

“At a time when the income is limited, blocking my Rs 10,000 makes no sense,” he added.

Sajid Khan from Karawal Nagar also has the same complaint that in April, his bill was Rs 690 and in May, it shot up to Rs 3,140.

“Under the subsidy, we didn’t get so much bills since August last year. Now, we are being charged so high every month,” Khan said.

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said the power bill for May was Rs 12,700. “My house has been vacant since March. Yet I got a bill of Rs 5,290 in March and Rs 2,690 in April,” he said.

A Delhi University student, who left his home in March before the lockdown, said that she received a bill of about Rs 6,000 in April and May.

“There is no one at the flat. Yet we were charged Rs 6,000. Last month, I paid the amount thinking there must be some issue. Now again on June 1, I received a message that the bill is of Rs 5,973. The entire city is working, but the BSES is still not sending people for taking readings. This is simply a loot,” the 23-year-old said.

Sunita Anand from Laxmi Nagar said that the bill amount was zero between December and March. “In April, it was Rs 970 and in May, it jumped to Rs 1,900. I am staying alone and do not consume so much electricity,” she said.

When contacted, the BSES said the bills are being generated on a provisional basis as readings could not be taken due to the lockdown situation.

“We have been encouraging people for self reading. They can send us the current meter reading photo with details to get the bill revised. We have been revising the bills as and when people are updating their details,” the company said.

It also said that any excess payments received from provisional bills will be self-adjusted in the later bills once the reading is done.

“The customers are requested to make the payment on estimated reading. The actual reading bill with adjustment of payment made during the lockdown period will be sent once the lockdown situation gets normalised,” the BSES said in one of the messages to the customers.

It said that as per the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission guidelines, electricity bills may be raised on a provisional basis with respect to consumers not covered under the Smart Meters and Automatic Meter Reading.

“An additional rebate of Rs 20 per bill shall be provided to the consumer if the consumer furnishes the meter reading(s) himself,” the BSES added.

On August 1, 2019, the Delhi government had announced that people living in the national capital will not have to pay any electricity bill for consuming up to 200 units of power. For those consuming electricity between 201 and 400 units, about 50 per cent of subsidy will be provided.

(IANS)

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