THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ever since the countrywide lockdown was announced on March 24, Malayalis have been staying indoors, resulting in an increase in power consumption much to the happiness of Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) officials.
Most consumers received a rude jolt after meter readings by the KSEB resumed from Monday as they realised that their monthly/bi-monthly charges have increased manifold.
The respective KSEB electrical section offices are facing a deluge of phone calls from consumers complaining that the amount has shot up and citing discrepancies in the bill generated.
Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala has alleged that the meter reading has jumped to the next slab or further slabs as the computer bill has not been generated for the usual monthly or bi-monthly rates. He said the decision of the KSEB to charge more than the usual slab rate has to be revoked.
“Already the COVID-19 lockdown has affected everyone leaving them with no money. The latest power bill has come as a shock to many and KSEB should ensure that only the previous rate should be charged from consumers,” said Chennithala.
However, KSEB chairman and managing director N S Pillai told The New Indian Express that the computer-generated billing system is set in such a way that it is taken either monthly or bi-monthly. But this time, the computerised bill has been generated after 65 days to 67 days.
“So, there has been a jump in the slab rates when it should have been generated on the 30th day or on the 60th day. If earlier, 300 units were consumed, then it would have been calculated at the rate of Rs 5.80/unit, the next slab of 301 at Rs 6.60/unit, the 400 slab rate at Rs 6.90/unit and above 500 slab rate at Rs 7.10/unit. Not a single consumer will be penalised by KSEB. If there has been an increase or decrease in the bill amount, it will be adjusted accordingly in the subsequent bills,” said Pillai.
He urged consumers to approach their respective electrical section offices and lodge a complaint in writing if they feel that there is any discrepancy in their bill. In certain areas, the average bill based on the last three bills was generated, especially for commercial establishments. Except medical stores and grocery stores, the remaining shops had been shut since March 20 in Kerala which adversely impacted the board. They were asked to pay 70 per cent of their last bill.