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RAWALPINDI, June 23: The Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) has criticised the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) for overbilling it by more than Rs5 million in May.

The agency said it had conveyed its protest to Iesco chief, superintending engineer and other officials concerned in Islamabad.

Usually, the civic bodies of the twin cities resolve their issues amicably and it is rare that the agency under the control of the Punjab government has come into open by issuing a press release against Wapda.

“We have brought the matter into the notice of various high-ups of Wapda but nobody is paying heed to us. We have a separate directorate for dealing with electricity bills but how can Iesco send an inflated bill to the tune of Rs5 million despite the fact that we have been paying the bills regularly,” Wasa Managing Director Chaudhry Naseer Ahmed said in a statement.

He said the average monthly electricity bill of Wasa usually stood at Rs15 million but this time Iesco charged it Rs22.5 million. “We talked to everybody but to no avail and finally we deposited the bill in protest in the interest of our consumers who would have been be deprived of civic facilities, including drinking water, in case Iesco cut the power supply,” the Wasa chief told Dawn on Thursday.

Wasa has threatened to file a case against Wapda in the court of Electricity Inspector Punjab (EIP) in case the inflated bill was not withdrawn.

A week earlier, water shortage hit the Rawalpindi city and its cantonment areas after Iesco suspended electricity supply to Sangjani water treatment plant due to non-payment of bills.

The temporary shortage of water triggered protest in Pirwadhai where the protesters attacked a military checkpost besides burning a police vehicle.

“Wapda sends us inflated bills so that power supply should be disconnected to water distribution agencies and the consumers stand up in revolt against us without knowing the real cause,” an official told this scribe.

On the other hand, Chief Executive Iesco Javed Pervez termed the press release issued by Wasa 'highly irresponsible' and argued why the aggrieved agency deposited the bill if it had reservations over it.

“There is no surcharge on the bills of government departments. We do not accept bills that contain errors. I reject the baseless allegations of Wasa against Iesco. No government agency has ever deposited monthly electricity bills regularly but still we have liberal attitude,” Mr Pervez said while talking to Dawn.