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CESU’s clarification on grievances related to inflated consumer electricity Bills

Bhubaneswar:27/5/20: After resumption of handheld billing in the month of May, Central Electricity Supply Utility of Odisha (CESU) has received a number of grievances from the consumers and asked whether their 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. Due to the lockdown, officials could not take meter readings in the month of April and bills were generated on provisional basis based on last recorded consumption.

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.

CESU has analysed all the grievances received so far on the May’20 billing. On analysis and recalculation, all the bills have been found to be correct. However in response to these specific issues as under.

  1. `Not providing the Slab Benefits to the consumers :

A number of consumers have complained that credit due to them on lower slab rate in has not been given to them. But this is found to be not correct. The slab benefits allowed has been given to them for the total period.

Grievance Case: I (Without naming the consumer)

Complaint: He has received a bill for two months on 10.05.2020. The total unit is 1403 and the amount is Rs7440/- . Bill is calculated on the basis of monthly slab for which he was charged @ 5.70 for 603 units and @5.30 for 400 units. It should be calculated month wise for two months. As per the calculation, the bill amount should be Rs.6275.90, not Rs.7440/-.Hence Rs 819.20 has been charged excess.

Analysis and response by CESU

As notified by Hon’ble OERC, the following is the slab rate for consumption of electricity in units:

LT Domestic Tariff Slabs Type Unit Rate
(Consumption <= 50 units/month) LT 250.00
(Consumption >50, <=200 units/month) LT 430.00
(Consumption >200, <=400 units/month) LT 530.00
Consumption >400 units/month) LT 570.00

In the aforesaid case, 1403 units have been consumed over 2 months and hence, the Energy Charges is calculated as under :.

(First 50 units X 2 Months)          X    Rs 2.50 = Rs.  250.00

(Next 150 units X 2 Months)       X    Rs 4.30 =Rs. 1290.00

(Next 200 units X 2 Months)       X    Rs 5.30 = Rs. 2120.00

Remaining 603 units                   X    Rs 5.70 = Rs. 3437.10

(i.e. 1403-100-300-400)

————————————————

Total Energy Charges (EC)                            = Rs. 7097.10

On analysing of a number of grievances, it is found that the consumption has gone up substantially. They have been billed @Rs.5.70 per unit for consumption of more than 400 units. This has resulted in an increase in the bill value.

Non-payment by consumers in the month of March’20 and April’20

Due to the declaration of various social distancing measures and lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, neither consumers could pay their electricity dues nor CESU could collect its revenue through the disconnection of power supply of defaulting consumers.  On account of this, CESU could not collect nearly Rs.300 Crore from the consumers during March-April’20, resulting in an 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.

About Editor in chief

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.

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