LAHORE - Power consumers in Lahore and the adjoining districts would get rid of over-billing very soon as the snapshot system to overcome their long- standing complaint will become operational within a month.

Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) is currently working on war-footings to complete installation of its “electricity bill with snapshot of total units consumed” project.

The Lesco is already sending monthly bills to consumers placing pictures of the units spent in 103 sub-divisions.

Lesco Chief Engineer Mujahid Islam Billa says the system will be introduced in all 163 sub-divisions of the company within a month.

“The introduction of snapshot system will be helpful in maximum reduction of errors in bills,” he said adding, the complaints about over-billing almost ended where the system was already working.

Hundreds of consumers visit Lesco complaint offices on daily basis for correction of their bills, wasting time and money for a thing they are not responsible for.

Sources in power sector say the menace of over-billing is taking place in connivance with the management in power distribution companies (DISCOs) which have indulged in this practice to make up for their system losses.

As per some internal reports of the water and power ministry, all DISCOs including Lesco are charging 35 extra days to consumers every year through wrong cycle of meter reading and billing, forcing the common people to pay for over 13 months instead of 12 months of a year.

Mujahid, however, maintained that the compliant of over-billing was not a willful negligence on the part of Lesco staff. He attributed it to human error.

He said the number of company customers receiving inflated bills was negligible as compared to 3.7 million total consumers.

“We have acute shortage of staff. Only 10 meter readers are available to note the readings of around 30,000 consumers in a sub-division. You can expect mistake from them.”

The Lesco, somehow, improved recovery and is among the two Discos (along with Fesco) which is considered a profitable company. However, it has yet to recover Rs4.4billion from the government sector and Rs4.64billion from private sector.

The chief engineer (operations), however, held that much of the default had been challenged in courts by the consumers and the company was pursuing the cases. He added the Lesco’s overall current recovery was more than 98 per cent.

He informed that 27 new sub-divisions were created within the limits of Lesco and it will be helpful in further improving “efficiency of the company.” Still, he viewed; the company needed 30 more sub-divisions.

About the line losses, he claimed a reduction of 0.8 per cent had been noted as compared to previous year. The distribution and transmission line losses of the Lesco stand at 14.1 per cent which, he said, were far less than the other Discos of the country.

Mujahid said the Lesco had up-graded 66 grid stations which helped eradicate low-voltage, electricity tripping problems. He said the company had 741 new transformers and 600 reclaimed to cope with any emergency situation quite efficiently.