Hyderabad:Hyderabad: Jaya Aditya Reddy’s house in Khajaguda has been locked and vacant for three months. So, he was surprised when on 8 June he received an electricity bill for an amount of Rs. 8,741. “My house was locked for more than three months. On Monday morning, a bill arrived stating we have used over 1,444 units,” said Mr. Aditya.

He is among many Hyderabadis who have been shocked by their high electricity bills. Though officials have said that power tariff has been increased due to increased consumption during the lockdown, citizens are still overwhelmed. The Telangana State Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (TSSPDCL) had earlier said that people could pay the bills generated in the corresponding months of the previous year due to the COVID-19 lockdown. However, the TSSPDCL has now generated bills for the last three months, without taking into account the change in slab rates.

“When I called the TSSPDCL, the official asked me to come to the office and said they will look into it the matter. On Twitter, I received an auto-generated response which asked me to contact my area AAO/ERO or AE/OP whose numbers are mentioned in the electricity bill or write to [email protected] They’ve calculated units for 91 days but haven’t adjusted the bill payments made the same way,” said Mohammed Rizwan, another resident.

Some citizens have also alleged that they are being unfairly charged bills at a higher slab despite the fact that they have made monthly payments. “I’ve already paid the electricity bills for March, April, and May. Even if you combine the bills for the three months, this is outrageous for a household of three. Our bill is usually between Rs. 600 and 1,200 per month. But on 6 June, I received a bill for Rs. 8,025,” said Samriddha Ghosh, a resident of Sanjeev Reddy Nagar.

Similar amount for different units

“My monthly electricity bill used to range between Rs. 1,200 and 1,600. However, this time it was Rs. 8,482 for three months. What is happening? The government should order a probe. This is unacceptable,” tweeted Nasir Giyas of Baba Nagar.

Ms. Giyas received two bills for two houses where units used are 1,444 and 477, respectively. Surprisingly, the bill for one house is Rs. 8,741 and for the other it is Rs. 8,482. “Check the two bills carefully. One house used 1,444 units and the bill was Rs. 8,741 and the second one used 477 units but the bill is still Rs. 8,482. Isn’t it fishy? Daal main kuch kala hai?” He said.


 

TSSPDCL says hike in bill because people stayed home more

 

Meanwhile, the TSSPDCL chairman and managing director (CMD), Raghuma Reddy, said every year during March, April, and May, the overall domestic power consumption increases by 39 per cent in Hyderabad and this brings a shift in the slab rates. He also said 40 per cent of TSSPDCL consumers have not paid the bill, therefore, their slab rate has changed.

“There is no error in the bills. The bills are higher because the consumption was more during the lockdown. With an increase in consumption, the slab rate of consumers has also increased. In fact, it happens every year during the summer. Due to the lockdown, people have mostly stayed at home. On average, only around 60 per cent of our domestic consumers paid the bill in the last three months,” he said.

Meanwhile, to clear the doubts of consumers, the United Federation of Resident Welfare Associations, Greater Hyderabad, has compiled a list of categories of domestic users in the state. Category LT 1(A) includes people who consume up to 100 units, Category LT 1(B-1) are people who consume up to 200 units, and Category LT 1 (B-2) are those who consume above 200 units. Billing is done according to the category with telescopic slabs.

Consumers consuming 0-50 units per month are charged Rs. 1.45 per unit and those consuming 51-100 units are charged Rs. 2.60 per unit. From 101-200 units, Rs. 4.3 per unit is charged; from 201-300, Rs. 7.2 per unit is charged; from 301-400, Rs 8.5, and from 401-800, Rs. 9 is charged. Consumers who use above 800 units are charged Rs. 9.5 per unit, the association said.

The association has also developed a ‘know your electricity bill’ amount calculator mobile application (Excel). To use this mobile calculator, one will have to enter the consumer category and the previous and present reading which are printed on the electricity bill.

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. Dheeshma has also made short films and documentaries. Her documentary ‘Still I Rise’, which is based on sex-trafficking in Hyderabad’s Old City, has earned accolades in several film festivals, such as International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala (IDSFFK). An avid foodie, she loves to travel and listen to stories that others tell. Photography is one of her all-time interests. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, health, consumer, and data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.

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