Bhubaneswar: After resumption of hand held billing in the month of May, Central Electricity Supply Utility of Odisha (CESU) has received a number of grievances from the consumers and was asked whether the electricity bills are inflated.
“For the bill in May, residents would pay for the usage in March and April. For the customers who paid the April bill through online portals, the same has been adjusted in the May billing cycle. There has been no changes in tariff,” CESU stated.
Due to the lockdown, officials could not take metre readings in the month of April and bills were generated on provisional basis based on last recorded consumption, a press note issued by the power utility read.
Moreover, many customers are staying in their homes during lockdown, resulting in higher consumption of electricity. The arrival of summer as well as increased usage of computers and laptops for those working from home, have also added to the domestic power usage.
Non-payment by consumers in the month of March’20 and April’20
Due to declaration of various social distancing measures and lock down to prevent the spread of COVID-19, neither consumers could pay their electricity dues nor CESU could collect its revenue through disconnection of power supply of defaulting consumer. On account of this, CESU could not collect nearly Rs.300 Crore from the consumers during March-April’20, resulting in the increase of in the arrear value of the consumers. This arrear has been added to the billing made in May’20, which in turn has increased the billing value of the consumers for the month.
CESU is encouraging consumers for payment of their electricity dues by offering 4% additional rebate for any payment made by the consumers in the month of April-May’20. But only Rs.135 Crores was collected against its average collection of Rs.255 Crores in a month, i.e. a shortfall of Rs. 120 Crores. Whenever the consumers defaulted in paying their dues in a month, the billing value in the next month increases accordingly.
“If consumers still have apprehensions, it is requested to bring such the specific issues about the May’20 billing to the notice of CESU which will be addressed on priority basis. The consumers are requested to call toll free number – 1912 OR 1800-345-7122 on 24×7 basis to register their complaints in this regard. Consumers are also requested to make their payment on electricity dues through digital modes to maintain social distancing,” CESU stated.