WAJIDULLAH KHAN  

PESHAWAR - The electricity consumers thronged the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) sub-division offices on the first working day after Eid holidays, as the company allegedly dispatched incorrect power bills.

The company has allegedly charged the consumers more than the amount due for the electricity they consumed.

During a visit to Pesco’s Landi Arbab and Gulberg sub-division, it was observed that this fearless practice of officials has also led many of the villagers to become tangled in a vicious cycle, while visiting different offices of Pesco repeatedly to correct their bills. Recurring instructions by the Pesco incumbent chief to the concerned officials to develop a reliable system of assessing utility bills has also been useless as people still found no relief.

One Shah Jehan Khan, resident of Landi Arbab, who has become a victim this over-billing and as a result has had to make several visits to the Pesco offices. He lamented that he has a five-member poor family, whose average power consumption as was shown correctly in the bills of February to May this year was ranging from 90-120 units per month. However, in the month of June his meter reading was recorded as 9,462 units against the actual reading of 8,010 units, having 1452 extra units.

The elderly Shah Jehan, who was a retired government servant said that he felt it a great burden unon his family as when ‘I 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 spoke me to pay the bill in installments of Rs1,800 per month, he added.

He further said that the bill he received in the month of September was incorrect as it was incorporated extra dues of Rs 350 from the previous month even though I had paid last month’s installment, adding again Pesco officials sent me an incorrect bill in the month of October as well. 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’.

He also blamed that those pilfering electricity with the connivance of Pesco officials, were enjoying unlimited free electricity, as they were paying Rs 100 per house monthly to meter reader concerned. But those who refuse to give extortion money to officials were facing such tactics, he maintained. He also alleged that the meter reader openly demand monthly extortion and pretending that the SDO concerned has also fix share in the amount he collect 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 complainant accused.       

Similarly, mostly elders and women were also observed at Gulberg Sub-division office, where they were having the same problems. A women hailing from Ghafarabad area of Kotla Mohsin Khan lamented that she was sent a monthly bill of Rs 4600 for September, which was totally injustice, because weather was quite pleasant and electricity consumptions was automatically reduced. And also we haven’t any motor pump, air-conditioner or any other electrical machinery that requires too much electricity to operate, she added. To whom we poor people should approach to get only justice 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.