Wednesday Sep 15, 2021
A probe that was launched on the directives of Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, and was carried out by Power Information Technology Company (PITC), has found that overbilling of power consumers by various distribution companies did occur, it emerged on Wednesday.
Sources told Geo News that PITC has submitted its findings to the Power Division.
The matter was raised in an investigation by Geo.tv, which found that a number of power companies had billed their customers for more than the allowed 31 days in one month on more than one occasion since January 2021.
According to the PITC report, in Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO), out of 46 batches, overbilling occurred in six.
In the Gujranwala Electric Power Company (GEPCO), out of 36 batches, there was overbilling in seven; in Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (FESCO), out of 30 batches, there was overbilling in 11; and in Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO), out of 36 batches, overbilling occurred in eight.
In Multan Electric Power Company (MEPCO) and Sukkur Electric Power Company (SEPCO), overbilling occurred in four out of 36 batches, whereas in Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO), overbilling occurred in one of 36 batches.
In Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO), overbilling did not occur in any of the 43 batches, the PITC report states.
A response from the boards and the chief executive officers (CEOs) of the companies where overbilling was found, has been sought by the Power Division.
Following the publishing of the Geo.tv report, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), as well as Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar had taken notice of the matter.
Sources told Geo News on September 10 that after taking notice, Azhar directed Secretary Power Division Ali Raza Bhutta to get to the bottom of the matter.
The sources said that Bhutta then tasked PITC to determine the facts behind the distribution companies' overbilling of consumers.
A high-ranking official of the PITC confirmed then that scrutiny of the billing data of various distribution companies has begun.
Bhutta told Geo News that instructions have been issued to conduct a thorough probe on the directives of the energy minister.
He said that a report will be issued soon in this regard.
On the question of whether the overbilling amount will be refunded to consumers, the secretary said he will refrain from commenting until a final report has been prepared.