OKARA: Power consumers have protested against commercial banks for their refusal to accept manually-corrected bills.
Only post offices are accepting manually-adjusted bills, resulting in long queues outside 23 post offices across the district from 9am to 9pm.
Commercial banks receive computerised or web-generated bills.
Consumers say if banks are told to accept manually-corrected bills, they will not have to wait for hours in long queues at the post office to deposit their bills.
A bank official, however, said the online system does not accept such bills. The situation has burdened post office staffers with extra work and they have to stay two to three hours extra to sum up the collection with security guards. The extra work is not without extra cost for the post office.
A post office official said the post office charges Rs8 per bill, according to a 15-year-old agreement between Lesco and the post service.
City GPO in charge Hafiz Muhammad Anwar said only 12 staffers are working at the office, whereas the office requires 29 staffers. “We are bound to deal with consumers anyway,” he said.
He said Lesco had been paying just Rs8 per bill to the post office for two decades. Currently, the post office is suffering a loss in terms of bill collection.
Consumer Shahid Latif told this correspondent that first he stood in a line for hours to get his bill corrected at the Lesco office, and later on in front of the post office.
Dipalpur-based Syed Kasur Rizvi said it was his worst experience as it took him two days to submit the bill.
Power consumers demanded Prime minister Shehbaz Sharif and distribution companies take notice of their painful situation and order the State Bank to pass on directions to commercial banks to receive manually corrected electricity bills.
Also, postal service staff demanded fresh employees are recruited and the agreement with Lesco be revised to increase per bill service charges to avoid losses.
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2022