The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has decided to initiate legal proceedings against distribution companies (DISCOs) that are charging excessive bills and detection bills to consumers by adopting illegal and unlawful practices.
“It is very unfortunate that distribution companies are deliberately carrying out such malpractices in order to hide their inefficiencies due to which thousands of consumers suffered with higher electricity bills,” the authority said in a statement on Monday.
According to NEPRA, an inquiry showed that the billing cycles carried out by different DISCOs ranged from more than 30 days to 40 days and even more against the notified tariff terms and conditions in which the billing period means a billing month of 30 days or less.
“It is alarmingly noted that thousands of consumers were charged for more than 40 days billing. This was the major cause of overbilling during the months of July, 2023 & August, 2023,” the NEPRA stated.
The inquiry revealed that due to the non-replacement of defective meters, thousands of consumers were charged on an average basis for more than two months and even in a large number of cases; one to three years and even above three years.
“The respective Discos did not bother to replace the defective meters even after three years. Had these meters been replaced on time, there could have been a chance to calculate the authentic figures of losses,” the authority said.
The NEPRA findings alleged that the distribution companies were deliberately using such tactics to charge electricity bills on an average basis, which may lead to loss either to consumers or to the national exchequer.
A significant number of bills were found to have multiple discrepancies, according to the NEPRA.
“There are [a] huge number of discrepancies such as invalid snap, snap without meter date or reading, bill without snap, mismatch between snap & bill, mismatch between readings of bill & snaps, late posting of MCO or SCO and double units charging during the defective meter period average plus based on the load etc,” it stated.