Dhaka Power Distribution Company Ltd (DPDC) will complete its departmental investigation by Tuesday into issuing inflated electricity bills to a large number of consumers.
“We’ll complete the investigation process by June 30 and nobody involved in bill inflating process will be spared,” Bikash Dewan, managing director of DPDC, told consumers during a virtual public hearing on Sunday night.
The remarks from DPDC top executive came against the backdrop of the Power Division’s recent decision that power distribution companies have to clarify their position on inflated bills.
There are widespread allegations that a huge number of power consumers received exaggerated electricity bills during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Bikash Dewan said DPDC has 1.3 million consumers in Dhaka and adjoining Narayanganj city. Of them, only 14,000 got the inflated bills.
“But we’re seriously looking into how could they have received such inflated bills and how the whole process was done and who were involved,” he said.
Other top officials of DPDC also spoke on the occasion. A good number of consumers participated in the videoconference-based virtual meeting from different parts of Dhaka and Narayanganj.
A DPDC executive director (ICT) defended the inflated bills saying that they were prepared through automatic process and average bills of three months were issued for the consumers.
“As metre readers could not visit the meters due to coronavirus outbreak, that’s why we had to prepare the average bills,” he said.
But many consumers expressed dissatisfaction with such clarification. A consumer from city’s Mohammadpur area alleged that he normally receives a bill of around Tk 5,000. But in April, he received a bill of about Tk 8,000 and in May it was Tk 17,000.
Some of the consumers alleged that after receiving inflated bills, they contacted the local DPDC offices, but received no good gesture to address the problems.Bikash Dewan said all the officials of local DPDC offices were instructed to correct the inflated bills.
He also admitted that there were somehow mistakes in the billing process for which such inflated bills were issued.“If you go to work, there might be some mistakes. If you don’t work, there will be no mistakes,” he said.
He noted that the inflated bills will be adjusted within next seven days once an allegation is received from any consumers.
Responding to question on bill payment facility without surcharge for commercial consumers, he said DPDC is very much sympathetic to such consumers.
“But we have to follow the instruction of higher authorities. Unless there is any such instruction, DPDC cannot take any measures,” he said.
He also noted that no commercial connections were snapped due to failure of bill payment in last three months due to coronavirus outbreak.