CHENNAI: Despite repeated complaints, consumers continue to receive exorbitant electricity bills. This is mostly due to erroneous recording of metre readings by Electricity Board (EB) officials. “Our electricity bill is usually only Rs 400-500. This month, it was Rs 4,500. I know at least 10 people who received bills like this. The local EB officials never pick up calls,” said A Anderson from Mandaveli.
In a similar case, K Radhika, from Velachery, received a Rs 6,000 bill. When she complained, it was found that the workmen recorded 300 units extra. “We haven’t received a revised bill yet, and don’t know whether they will levy a fine for late payment,” she said.
In May this year, domestic consumers whose electricity meters were not assessed were shocked to see their bills. They complained that the charges were high while their consumption was low. This was because they were billed according to their consumption the previous year, due to the lockdown. If the electricity consumption was not noted during the lockdown (that is, if the 60th day from the previous month’s calculation fell during this period), consumers have to pay the amount they were billed in the same month of 2019 (pre-Covid),” said an official.
However, on receiving many complaints, Tangedco issued a notice asking consumers to send a photo of their current electricity meter reading so the bills can be revised. More than 5.4 lakh complaints regarding overcharging were received every month during the pandemic.
“Our house was locked for four months, but we received an electricity bill of Rs 5,000. We complained on the website and got our bill revised,” said R Vinayak, a resident of Velachery. However, many people said their complaints have not yet been addressed, and pointed out that the high bills were an added burden when the public were struggling to cope with inflation. When contacted, an official said, “Consumers can send complaints to 9498794987. We will address them within a week.”