Fast Meters/ Over billing
His Excellency, the Chief Justice of Pakistan,
Supreme Court of Pakistan,
September, 23, 2010
I am a consumer of IESCO (Islamabad Electric Supply Company) having Reference No. 07 14125 0392800 U, old Account No. 07412503928009 installed at my House No.1060, Street No.95, Sector I-10/1 Islamabad. The new meter installed at my house was running very fast which fact was quite apparent from the consumption pattern for the corresponding period when old meter was installed. During the last 4/5 years I submitted several complaints to the local complaint office of IESCO in I-10 Markaz but the same I think were put into dustbin and no action whatsoever taken. I began calling to see if they could check that the meter was working properly once I started receiving higher bills. They always declined to help me. During 2008 I visited the complaint office personally and when questioned them regarding a sudden increase in my electricity usage during last years, they were quite unreceptive to helping me why it increased. They basically told me that it was more likely that our meter was too slow in calculating usage rather than too fast and by replacing our current meter with a new one, there was a chance that electricity usage would increase even further. Based on that threatening information from them, I was further frightened and did not request a new meter be put in. However ever since the new meter was installed our electric bills had been on ridiculously high side. Sometimes our bills got so high that we had a very hard time keeping up.
Sir! I am a retired employee having absolutely meager resources. With the abnormal increase in tariff during the last two years, we have done everything we could to conserve energy, changed all the light bulbs in our home, made sure no lights were left on, computer is shut down and not turned on until our off peak time which is from 8:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. We have quit pressing clothes of the children; we dry our clothes on the clothesline so I do not have to consume energy. Often we avoid even putting on the fans. Although split unit was installed in some good days in our one bedroom but for the last two years we have not dared to ever put it on. But in a situation when me and other people were already complaining unreliable and fast running electricity meters unacceptable to them; and already paying the highest electricity rates, the people are now confronting another alarming situation and instead of reduction in consumption of electricity units due to above said energy conservation measures, consumption shown in the bills is rather enhancing leaving the consumers to commit suicides who otherwise are not able to meet these exaggerated bills.
For instance the bill month September 2008 the units consumed even by that fast running meter were 414, for the month of September 2009 the units were 530 whereas the consumption for the same period in respect of September 2010 is 642 which means consumption reflected in the current bill is approximately 1.5 times. We have even much less consumption than previous years due to our conservation measures and prevalent load shedding. I have monitored the consumption pattern for the last three months. Today on 23.9.2010 the meter is showing reading 35409 as compared to 35254 on 8.9.2010 meaning thereby that 155 units have been consumed during 16 days and it is to be seen where the reading reaches by 8.10.2010 i.e. the next date of meter reading. On 22.7.2010 158 units had been consumed in 15 days after previous reading but bill for July 2010 showed 613 units to have been consumed meaning thereby that during next 16 days 455 units were consumed against the same load. Similarly it was observed on 24.8.2010 that 153 units had been consumed after previous reading but bill for August 2010 showed 466 units having been consumed during the month meaning that in subsequent 15 days of the month 313 units were consumed. This is very abnormal and ridiculous situation. Following data collected from the enclosed bills for September 2009 and September 2010 would show the consumption pattern and increase in the units consumed instead of decrease due to measures as stated above. On the one hand the company is continuously enhancing the tariff rates and on the other hand unnecessarily enhancing consumed units while issuing bills. The company is receiving bills for almost double the actual electricity consumed.
Month Consumption shown in the bills
2008 2009 2010
January 236 units 269 Units
February 220 280
March 214 261
April 268 323
May 366 534
June 500 540
July 456 613
August 510 446
September 414 Units 530 642
October 494 590 Yet to come
November 325 380 Yet to come
December 247 260 Yet to come
Due to abnormal price hike the physical consumption of electricity is decreasing but above table clearly reflects that consumption is day by day increasing for the purpose of collection of bills. Take the example of September in which units consumed were 414 in 2008 which rose to 530 in 2009 and 642 highest ever in 2010. It is common perception that on instructions from high-ups some device like remote control is being used to forward the meter reading by the meter readers at the time of recording monthly meter reading. In this nefarious way the IESCO and other electric companies are plundering the people of Pakistan. Some time ago the PESCO employees were caught red handed at Peshawar who were forwarding the meters. The story was run on the electronic media and they clearly told that they were doing so on the direction of their superior officers.
Similar is the position with other almost all the consumers also.
Sir! We elected the Parliament, MNAs, Senators and other Representatives to work through the problems being faced by us but collectively they have let us down and badly plundering us by using the official machinery. As citizens of Pakistan, we deserve better than what is happening with us today. Our only hope is Chief Justice Supreme Court of Pakistan. We are poor people and can not afford to spend money and time in litigation individually.
The physical position of such an expensive department like IESCO is that a small spot of strong breeze and some rain is sufficient to ring alarm bells in power stations and complete electricity is cut off instantly leaving the users to fend for them. Complaint department does not receive calls and there is no way you can get any information as to what has happened. Rain /strong breeze may stop after a few minutes; but one does not get electricity for hours. Additional meter if applied for smooth relations of two families living in the same house is refused thus creating social problems for the people. Whenever IESCO officials are asked if they could tell us why this monthly bill was so high; the attending official is always snotty & defensive saying only 'there is nothing wrong with our meters.'
We, the following consumers humbly request to please take suo moto action against this destitution and plundering of the IESCO Authorities and directing to:
(1) Prohibit the IESCO from recording exaggerated meter reading in the monthly bills and collecting extra amounts against that fake and managed meter reading.
(2) Promptly replace all the meters with unexplained high usage readings and to refund/ adjust the extra amounts charged from the consumers towards their coming bills;
(3) Require the IESCO to install additional meter where requested by the consumer; and
(4) Control the theft of electricity (Which is not possible without involvement of IESCO officials) and change the luxurious lifestyle of the officials instead of burdening the poor people with endless price hike every next day.
(5) Cease to provide free electricity to its employees (who less consume personally and more sell the electricity to neighbors) on the cost of consumers.
(6) Mandate that IESCO must respond to a consumer complaint within 48 hours;
(SHAUKAT MASOOD ZAFAR)
Reference No. 07 14125 0392800 U
POSTAL ADDRESS FOR CORROSPONDANCE
House No.1060, Street No.95,
Sector I-10/1, Islamabad.
Phone: 0333-5499592 (and others as per enclosure)
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