The Telangana government should waive electricity bills for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for the entire lockdown period, the Telangana state Congress chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy said on Sunday.
In a letter to the state's Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, the Nalgonda Member of Parliament demanded appropriate reduction in bill amount for other consumers.
"We request you to kindly announce 100% waiver of electricity bills for the lockdown period for the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families," wrote Uttam.
While the power bills of all white ration cardholders should be waived completely, the bill amount for others should be reduced appropriately by rectifying all the mistakes in the billing method, he further said.
"Similarly, the power bills, including fixed, minimum and regular charges, of all Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) should also be waived completely for the lockdown period as they could not carry out any commercial activity," Uttam Kumar Reddy said in the letter.
According to the TPCC chief, the electricity bills received by consumers in the month of June were highly "unjustified" and they were not only "inflated and exorbitant,” but were “prepared in an erroneous manner."
He said of the 95 lakh power consumers in Telangana, nearly 75 lakh were in the domestic category and almost 80 % of them consume below 200 units a month.
Stating that consumers were primarily divided into three categories based on their consumption, he said the Telangana State Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (TSSPDCL) had generated bills based on overall consumption done in 90 days.
"Consequently, consumers have been asked to pay Rs 9 per unit instead of regular Rs 4.3 per unit due to change in the category based on the total number of units consumed in a 90-day period", he added.
The Congress leader alleged that despite lakhs of consumers raising complaints about errors in their electricity bills, neither the TSSPDCL nor the Energy Department took any corrective measures.
"Instead, consumers were threatened with disconnection if they did not pay the inflated and wrong bills on time," he claimed.
The Congress would organise a protest across Telangana on July 6 against the "inflated" electricity bills and to demand waiver of power bills for the poor for the lockdown period, the TPCC chief said.