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Wapda woes

September 03, 2013

THIS is apropos the letters regarding ‘Electricity and gas theft’ (Aug 30) where the writers have truly pointed out the power theft which is continuing unabated throughout the country in connivance with Wapda officials.

Thousands of megawatts are being lost in theft thanks to the ‘kunda’ or monthly meter setting that could in no way be done without the knowledge of the line man/meter reader of the company.

Further those who genuinely pay electricity bills are sent over reading and detection bills so as to coerce them into monthly settings with Hesco officials.

Deliberate over-reading causes consumers to pay units constituting higher tariff slabs which exponentially increases their bill. For example, for the first 100 units the rate is Rs5.79 per unit, for the units from 200 to 300 the rate is Rs8.11, for the units from 300 to 700 the rate is 12.33 and for the units from 700 onwards the rate is Rs15.070 per unit.

It is also clearly mentioned in the bill that in case of any billing issue the concerned SDO may be contacted for issuance of corrected bill. However they never issue a new bill and if instalment is requested then the surcharge is added in the next month’s bill.

Further the policy of sending detection bills is also not clear because if a meter is detected as malfunctioning due to technical reasons, then how could the customer be made responsible for it.

Also, once a detection bill is sent against a particular meter, how can the same meter be sent another detection bill after a couple of months because once a meter is found to be not functioning properly, then it is the responsibility of the department to replace it.

Commercial consumers continue using electricity either on residential meters or through monthly settings since it is highly unlikely that shopkeepers could afford to pay genuine electricity bills on commercial rates whereas the domestic tariff slab is already beyond a common man’s reach.

Further the entire area under Hesco jurisdiction is involved in power theft, including rural and urban areas.

The most notorious areas of Hyderabad are Qasimabad, Latifabad and Hussainabad. The latter area also has the Hesco head office and the power theft is easily visible to all and sundry.

It is, therefore, suggested that a countrywide crackdown may be initiated against Hesco officials as they are the main culprit as it is near to impossible to indulge in power theft without their knowledge and also in refraining them from adopting tactics that force customers who are unwilling to indulge in theft so as to get our country out of this misery.

AYAZ AHMED Hyderabad