Tuesday June 18, 2024

FIA files 12 FIRs against Mepco Kabirwala circle officials for overbilling

By Qaisar Nadeem Mehar
May 24, 2024
This image shows the logo of the Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco). — APP/File
This image shows the logo of the Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco). — APP/File

KABIRWALA: The Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) has charged tube-well consumers extra Rs 117.6 million with excessive 2.8 million units in various subdivisions of Kabirwala circle.

Following the application by a consumer, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) team headed by ASI Saira Saddique raided the Mepco Kabirwala office and found that the 22 tube-well consumers were overcharged. The FIA team found significant discrepancies in the metering and billing processes of Mepco subdivision Kabirwala, including invalid snapshots and mismatches between snapshots and bills. The FIA accused the Mepco of massive overbilling after a detailed investigation and filed 12 FIRs against the officials involved in it.

Mepco’s Siray Sidhu subdivision consumers Muhammad Riaz, Muhammad Tariq and Muhammad Iqbal said they had received their bills of April with additional units of 6,000, 5,000 and 7,000, respectively. They alleged that the Mepco had targeted the small farmers to cover their line losses and power theft through overbilling. The most-affected consumers are small farmers, who run their tube-wells to irrigate their fields due to unavailability of canal water.

When contacted, Meter Reader Mangay Shah Samar, said that XEN Rana Tanveer called them in the Billing Section of RO Office Kabirwala at 5am and forced them to hike the electric units up to 2.8 million to curb the line losses, which was approximately 9pc. He also alleged that the XEN paid a huge bribe money to FIA team and went on official leaves for two months to save himself from investigation.

One of the overbilling accused, Meter Inspector Shahid, told that they had submitted the original readings to the Revenue Office and he alleged that XEN Rana Tanveer ordered the Revenue Department to feed the extra units in computer, but the FIR was lodged against him instead of the XEN who was the real culprit. He appealed to Federal Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi to look into the matter and provide them the justice.

Mepco Multan Director Commercial Asad Hammad said that as per rule only the XENs, SDOs and ROs concerned would be held responsible for the overbillings, not the subordinate staff and it was strange that no FIR was lodged against XEN, SDO and RO Kabirwala subdivision. He said that Federal Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi had vowed to pursue a zero-tolerance policy on overbilling by power distribution companies across the country.

XEN Rana Tanveer denied the allegations said that he was hospitalised and was not present in the office when the overbillings were being fed into the system.The FIA spokesman said that zero tolerance would be shown towards the corrupt elements and strict legal action would be taken against those involved in overbilling. He said that the accused would be brought to justice and punished according to the law.