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Rabbani seeks action against power providers for 'fleecing consumers'

"Nepra inquiry has revealed the mother of all scams," Senator says, strongly condemning excessive overbilling by Discos

December 05, 2023
Senator Mian Raza Rabbani addresses a book launch at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs in Karachi on November 5, 2022. — APP
Senator Mian Raza Rabbani addresses a book launch at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs in Karachi on November 5, 2022. — APP

ISLAMABAD: After the power distribution companies (Discos) of the country were found involved in excessive overbilling of the consumers, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani strongly condemned the grave malpractice which he said was a "criminal activity".

The politician lashed at the Discos for overcharging the consumers as much as 100%, as found in an inquiry report by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra).

The authority decided to initiate legal action against K-Electric (KE) and other power-providing companies after finding evidence of excessive overbilling of millions of consumers.

"The Nepra inquiry has revealed the mother of all scams, as power firms have been skinning alive users through inflated bills. This act is strongly condemned," Rabbani, a senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), said in a statement.

He said that the findings of the report amounted to criminal activity and called for an action against the Discos for fleecing the consumers.

Rabbani mentioned that the report also called into question the integrity of Discos' entire revenue stream, from meter readings to billing and penalties.

"The report also found that the actual amount charged to users differed from the snapshot of the meter reading available on the bills. In some cases, the snapshots were either invisible or deliberately not taken," he noted.

The senator then demanded action against the discos and called for the adjustment of the overcharged amount in the consumers' electricity bills and placement of Discos' chief executives' names on the no-fly list.

Moreover, Rabbani said that the report should be placed before the Senate's Committee of the Whole to suggest and recommend what action should be taken against this criminal activity.

Taking “very serious” notice of the complaints that were reported from all over Pakistan regarding excessive, inflated, and wrong bills charged by the distribution companies to the consumers during two months — July and August, Nepra constituted a committee to probe into the matter of excessive billing issues.

The committee found that 5.7 million Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) consumers were charged for more than 30 days of the billing cycle in the month of July followed by Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) i.e., around 1.2 million in August.

Similarly, Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco) i.e., more than 800,000 in August, Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) around 700,000 in both months, and Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) more than 500,000 in the month of July.

It also directed the DISCOs to initiate proceedings against officials concerned for violation of provisions of the Consumer Service Manual and other applicable documents as per their service rules on account of carrying out such illegal practices and submit a compliance report within 30 days.