PESHAWAR - The electricity consumers thronged the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) sub-divisional offices, as the company allegedly dispatched inflated and incorrect power bills.

The company has allegedly charged the consumers more than the due amount for the electricity they consumed. During a visit to Pesco’s Landi Arbab and Gulberg sub-divisional offices, it was noticed that this fearless practice of officials has also led many of the villagers mostly women and aged ones to become tangled in a vicious cycle, while visiting different offices of Pesco repeatedly to correct their monthly utility bills.

Recurring instructions by the Pesco incumbent chief Anwarul Haq to the concerned officials, chief engineers, XENs, and SDO to develop a reliable system of assessing utility bills has also been useless as people still find no relief in overbilling.

A retired government employee Mian Inamullah, resident of Landi Arbab, has become a victim of this overbilling and as a result had to make several visits to the Pesco offices. He lamented that he has a five-member family, whose average power consumption as was shown correctly in the bills from October to November last year was ranging from 90-120 units and in February to May 70-110 units per month. However, in the month of November this year his metre reading was recorded as 9,662 units against the actual reading of 8,210 units, having 1,572 extra units.

Inam a retired driver at a government department said that he felt it a great burden upon his family when he saw such a big difference in what he thought he would pay and what he was billed. He informed that when he went to Pesco’s Landi Arbab sub-division office, instead of accepting the mistake the official present their asked me to pay the bill in instalments of Rs2,500 per month, he added.

He further said that the bill he received in the month of October was incorrect as it incorporated extra dues of Rs730 from the previous month even though he had paid last month’s instalment. Inam added that Pesco officials sent him an incorrect bill in the month of November as well, that up to Rs 2778. “Now I have left with no option but to file a complaint against Pesco’s Landi Arbab sub-division at the office of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Electric Inspector to address ‘wrong and advance meter reading of power bills’,” Inam added.

He also blamed that those pilfering electricity with the connivance of Pesco officials, were enjoying unlimited free electricity, as they were paying Rs100 per house monthly to metre reader concerned. But those who refuse to give extortion money to officials were facing such tactics, he maintained.

He also alleged that the metre reader openly demands monthly extortion and pretending that the SDO and even XEN concerned have also fix share in the amount he collects from helpless consumers.

The SDO concerned do not try to control the illegal use of electricity and put the burden against those who are regularly paying, because the high-ups were also equally involved in this extortion, the complainants present on the occasion accused.         Similarly, at Gulberg Sub-division office, mostly women and elders were noticed of having the same problems. A women hailing from Ghafarabad area of Kotla Mohsin Khan lamented that she was sent a monthly bill of Rs5,100 for the month of November. She termed it as quite injustice, because weather had turned cold and electricity consumptions was automatically reduced. She further added that they had no motor pump, air-conditioner or any other electrical appliances or machinery that required too much electricity to operate, she added.

“To whom we poor people should approach to get justice and not any kind of incentives,” the distressed elderly women questioned.

Pesco authorities following criminal silence over the injustices of the officials compel the masses on pilfering electricity. At one hand we are being subjected to excessive power outage whereas on the other hand they sent us excessive and inflated utility bills, the complainants lamented.