Woes of power consumers

41

AS prices of oil are falling in the international market, the Government of Pakistan too is passing on the benefit to some extent to consumers and as a consequence the regulator brings down rates of electricity for power consumers. However, the benefit is taken away by Discos as it has become a routine that consumers are sent highly inflated bills after every two months and the patterns and the extent of the practice makes it abundantly clear that all this is done with the connivance of the high-ups to cover up losses due to theft and line losses.
Latest bills received by IESCO consumers once again confirm this pattern triggering protests by citizens who are threatening to go on roads against their continued fleecing by the officials concerned. Surprisingly all this is happening despite the fact that an apparently transparent mechanism is in place under which snapshot of the reading is printed on the bill of the consumer. But treacherously, the figures mentioned on the bill and those on the meter do not tally indicating higher reading with the objective of making the consumer to pay under higher slab. No doubt, the circular debt is increasing with the passage of every day and there is dire need for the Discos to come out with measures to increase revenue but this should not be done by penalising honest consumers. Why to punish those who pay their bills regularly and honestly just to fill pockets of corrupt officials and protecting those who steal electricity openly? There are meter-less premises and there are ‘kundas’ (illegal connections) but instead of picking up courage to take action against them, the authorities are fleecing general consumers. We hope Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi would look into the situation and issue directions to Discos not to resort to wrong billing as this amounts to pushing honest consumers towards theft and rebellion.