The Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) has made the consumers mentally ill through constant embarrassment of inflated bills, non-cooperation of the officials, loadshedding and low voltage here, local consumers said.

Gepco has 20 divisions from where it collected Rs2.4 billion extra than the original bill, which is a record amount it ever collected illegally from the consumers, they said.

They said that Gepco collects huge money over Rs2,000 million extra from the divisions concerned and Rs120 million only from Wazirabad Division. Approximate collection in the head of bills before JUL 2015 was Rs400 million per month which extended up to Rs520 million, they added.

A victim of overbilling namely Shamshad said, “Electric consumption on his meter is hardly 5-10 units but the meter reader includes over 400 units in the bill. When we applied for correction of the bill, he marked the meter as “defective” to cover his malpractice and converted the overcharged units into detection units.”

After 5 days of the expiry date of the current bill, the meter was removed from the site allegedly due to non-payment while the bill was with meter inspector for correction, the resident said. Meanwhile, the meter inspector advised to send meter to M & T Gujranwala for checking, he added.

A Gepco employee, on the condition of anonymity, stated that some meter readers, during loadshedding, put a magnetic piece on digital meters to appear figure for reading purpose. In this way either the meter gets jammed or disturbs the figures of the meter, he added. “The digital meters run faster than the non-digital ones. The meter that gets slow or gives accurate results is declared defective and the consumer is charged bill,” he noted. However, when a meter runs faster, the consumers’ complaints are thrown into dustbin, he said. “The situation also put the consumer in tension. The Gepco officials target the consumers and provide shelter to corrupt employees,” he alleged. A consumer namely Nasir whose consumption history is up to 250 units in summer and up to 130 units in winter reported to MR Section that his meter was faster and had consumed 260 units within just 10 days. He requested for replacement of the meter but the staff did not replace it. “I will exclude extra units from the bill. I will check the meter and replace it,” he quoted the the meter inspector as saying. However, the relevant staff did nothing to correct the bill even after the lapse of two months and put the meter in checking process of different types, he said.