Transco authorities have clarified that the whopping Rs 7 lakh power bill which was given to a small farmer in Telangana's Kamareddy district was the result of a technical glitch.
Earlier this week, G Sreenivas was shocked to receive a power bill of over Rs 7 lakh for the lockdown period of three months from March to May.
Three bulbs and two fans are all that Srinivas has at his house in Isrojiwadi village of Kamareddy and his average monthly power consumption is Rs 500.
Srinivas had paid Rs 415 in February along with remaining pending bills. He, however, could not pay the bills in March, April and May due to the lockdown.
Employees of the power distribution companies visit houses in the first week of every month to take the meter reading and generate bills based on the units consumed. However, this was not done for three months due to the lockdown.
With the easing of lockdown, the employees resumed the process of meter reading and generating bills. Srinivas was subsequently issued a bill of Rs 7,29,417 for the months of March, April and May 2020.
Speaking to TNM, Sreenivas said, "It was in February that we paid off our power consumption charges of around 500 rupees along with pending bills. But soon after the lockdown, when the power department staff gave me that bill I was shocked. We don't use more than three bulbs and a fan, TV."
He further added, "The Assistant Engineer called me and clarified that it happened due to a technical glitch on the bill generating machine and gave me a fresh bill for Rs 1800. However, even this fresh bill is more than the regular bill we get."
Additional Assistant Engineer (Operations) Kamareddy, Mallesh of Northern Power Distribution Company of Telangana Limited (TSNPDCL) told TNM that the bills are generated as per the tariff levels and consumed units, and this specific instance happened due to a technical mistake while operating the machine that generates bills.
He said, "We have rectified and solved the matter, a fresh bill was given to the farmer. He has already informed that he will be paying the amount as per the fresh bill."
While this may be a case of faulty reading going by the farmer's monthly average bill, this doesnâ€™t seem to be an isolated case as thousands of consumers across Telangana have complained about excessive bills following the lockdown amid economic crisis.
State Energy Minister G Jagadish Reddy, however, said that there was some inflation in power bills as people consumed more power by staying indoors in this summer owing to the lockdown. He said that electricity consumption in the state has gone up by 10-15% this summer in contrast to earlier years.