LAHORE - The Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) spokesperson has admitted that Lesco has been violating not only the law but also its own Detection Bill Policy appearing on its website.

Thus, it is fleecing the power consumers who are unaware of the law. The Lahore High Court has ruled in a case that the amount under the detection bill charged to the consumer by an electricity supply company without the service of a notice shall be withdrawn.

Likewise, Section 1(c) of the Lesco Detection Bill Policy says, “Before service of detection bill, a notice prescribed at Annex-B will be served upon the person whoever is found indulged in theft of energy as defined in Section 39 & 39-A of the Electricity Act, 1910.” As per its Section 1(d), detection bills not to be raised against the meters having broken or bogus seals. However, detection bill will be raised in case where, theft has been established”.

According to the policy, three months detection bill will be charged to the consumer whereas any detection beyond three months will be recovered from concerned WAPDA Employee (5) at “fault”. The law and the policy also on the detection of slowness are being violated as the process is not followed by the company. It says that in a vigilant system, slowness of a meter on mechanical or technical grounds should be detected within one reading cycle or two. Slowness should be determined either with the help of a check meter or by getting the meter tested with the appropriate testing equipment.

In addition, the policy makes it mandatory that “in case where slowness is detected within one reading cycle or two, it will be charged with the approval of load sanctioning authority.”

According to a survey conducted by The Nation, the consumers, who have filed cases with the court of Learned Civil Judge Mr Nasir Javed against the inflated or detection bills, gave vent to their anger against the highhandedness and lawlessness of the supply company. They said that the Lesco personnel serve inflated bills on them and when they visit the company’s offices, the respective SDO and the subordinates flatly and blatantly refuse to withdraw the amount added in their bills as arrears in violation of the law.

M Arif, one of the litigants, said that he had file a suit about two years ago but no lawyer or the official from the Lesco Chung office had turned up in the case and also not following the court orders. Later, he said, he filed a contempt of court suit but even then the respondents did not appear in the court despite the issuance of non-bailable warrants.

The court vide orders dated 29-09-2016 passed an injunctive order that respondents are directed to restore the electricity meter removed from the plaintiff’s house and serve the current bill on the consumer but to no avail. Earlier, the court vide order dated 14-05-2016 passed an injunctive order that defendants are directed to restrain from disconnecting the above mentioned electricity meter subject to payment of current bill but the meter was removed.

The same consumer has been charged 400, 400 and 300 units in October, November and December 2016 bills despite the fact that the electricity connection (Ref No 04112350627001) has been disconnected with removal of the meter for about two years and no electricity has been consumed.

Another consumer said that his electricity supply meter had been burnt out for the last four months and the house where the meter is installed is closed down for the last five months as his family has been shifted to another house. However, he added, he had been served Rs33,510, 15,330 and 21,002 electricity bills though there is no consumption of electricity at the house.

During a conversation, an officer of the Lesco lqbal Town, on condition of anonymity admitted that he feels ashamed of facing the consumers who were charged inflated units without any justification. When contacted, Lesco Spokesperson lmran Afzal in a flash admitted without hesitation that the company has been violating the law and its own policy on detection bill. He said, “Lesco should follow the policy and the law while issuing detection bill and send seven-day notice to the consumer before issuing detection bill.”

 

 However, he defended the company’s law violation, and said that detection bill is issued when it is confirmed that the consumer who is to be charged the bill has consumed the electricity equal to the amount when the meter is faulty. But he could not answer why Lesco sends manifold inflated bill against its policy which says that more than threefold of the average monthly bill could not be charged to the domestic consumer in case of alleged electricity theft.