The main opposition Congress party in Telangana on Monday staged protests across the state, demanding the state government waive electricity bills for the entire lockdown period for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families and small businesses.
Leaders led the black flag protests in Hyderabad and 32 other districts against inflated electricity bills for the last three months. They submitted memorandums to the electricity authorities not to impose burden on common man.
State Congress chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy led a rally in Hyderabad from party headquarters Gandhi Bhavan to Vidyut Soudha, the head office of electricity generation and distribution companies.
Wearing black badges and holding black flags and lanterns in their hands, the protesters raised slogans against the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao.
A party delegation submitted memorandum to the officials of Telangana State Transmission Corporation, demanding that the bills of BPL families and micro, small and medium enterprises be waived.
Talking to reporters, Reddy said instead of coming to the rescue of people during the pandemic time, the government added burden on them by high electricity bills.
He demanded that the government immediately rectify the error in the bills and lessen the burden on all categories of consumers.
Senior leader Mohammed Ali Shabbir said since the lockdown impacted the income of all categories of consumers, the government should take sympathetic views of their problems and reduce burden on them.
"The electricity bills of June were highly unjustified. They were not only inflated and exorbitant, but also prepared in an erroneous manner. Of the 95 lakh power consumers in Telangana, nearly 75 lakh are in the domestic category and almost 80 per cent of them use less than 200 units a month," Uttam Kumar Reddy wrote in a letter to the chief minister on Sunday.
He said distribution companies generated bills based on the overall consumption of 90 days, in violation of the Telangana State Electricity Regulatory Commission (TSERC) guidelines.
The Nalgonda MP stated that consumers have been asked to pay Rs 9 per unit instead of usual Rs 4.3 due to the change in slab based on the total number of units consumed in the 90-day period.
He demanded that the government shift to the telescopic method of billing instead of continuing with the current non-telescopic method. He alleged that despite lakhs of consumers raising complaints about the errors in their electricity bills, no corrective measure was taken.