Probe into overbilling of Rs23b by Sepco, Hesco in interior Sindh soon

Shahrukh Syed

Islamabad—The government has decided to probe into the overbilling of Rs23 billion the people of interior Sindh are experiencing for long and to this effect the board of directors of Sukkur Electric Supply Company (SEPCO) and Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO) will decide soon.
The starling disclosure of exposing the interior Sindh to the mammoth overbilling of Rs23 billion has been made when federal and Sindh governments had reconciled the dues that the Centre would take the amount of Rs 27 billion from Sindh against the billing of Rs50 billion. And the billing of Rs23 billion was declared faulty.
Now Sindh has agitated that the top management of the inefficient electric power distribution companies— SEPCO and HESCO — has parked their losses amounting to Rs23 billion in the head of overbilling to the legitimate consumers of both Discos.
There was a time when central government used to claim that Sindh government owed Rs50 billion against electricity being used in the jurisdiction of SEPCO and HESCO. And in return, the Sindh government used to respond that the amount of electricity bills are at the higher side and it needs to be reconciled. However, this dispute continued for years.
Now both governments have reconciled the electricity bills figures and came to conclude that Sindh government owes only Rs27 billion not the Rs50 billion, meaning that Rs23 billion was incorrect. The provincial government will now pay the Rs27 billion dues in instalments owing to which the loadshedding in interior Sindh will also go down with the pace of recovery of dues.
The electricity consumers across country receive inflated bills from respective Discos twice in a year that enables the top functionaries to cover up the loss of Rs50-60 billion which the system is facing. The overbilling every time in a year is equal to one month’s billing meaning by that the consumers factually pay the electricity bills for 14 months in one year which is sheer injustice to the consumer.
In Punjab, the electricity consumers are also forced to pay more on electricity they used. The officials of Lesco, Fesco, Mepco, Gepco and Iesco also confirmed that the entities were under tremendous pressure by top mandarins of ministries of water and power and finance to collect maximum revenue to show the performance in terms of improving the revenue and reducing the circular debt and that is why they adopted a modus operandi under which masses are subjected to over billing.
The National Electric Power regulatory Authority (Nepra) in its annual report of 2015 had revealed that the Discos have not only subjected the 200 million countrymen to the fake power outages but also to the 70 per cent overbilling.
The report 2015 also mentions that 70 per cent of ToU (time of use) meters in eight distribution companies are either outdated or out-timed resulting in sending of either peak or off-peak billing wrongly. However, the ministry of water and Power does not believe in the Nepra’s report.

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