10% subsidy gone, but why is my bill up 136%? | delhi | Hindustan Times
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10% subsidy gone, but why is my bill up 136%?

delhi Updated: Sep 02, 2009 23:59 IST
Avishek G Dastidar
New Delhi

Is your latest electricity bill inexplicably high? Console yourself — you are not the only one smarting from this electric shock.

Residents across the city are complaining that their latest bills are abnormally high — up to five times more in some cases.

Ever since the 10 per cent subsidy on power tariff lapsed on May 31, consumers had expected their monthly bills to increase, albeit marginally.

“Our latest bill is for Rs 21,000,” said Anil Sehgal, a former banker and resident of Safdarjung Enclave in South Delhi. “Up from Rs 13,000, which used to be the usual amount during the summer months.”

“The bill delivered in August is for thrice the amount billed in July,” said Anant Trivedi of South Delhi’s Ishwar Nagar. “Even if we agree that power consumption goes up in summer, it cannot go up so much that the bill almost trebles.”

Going by her bill, Sushweta Ghosh, a media professional residing in IP Extension, has consumed five times more electricity this summer compared to last year.

Last summer, Ghosh had consumed 521 units in August while this time she has received a bill for over 2500 units, even though the appliances at home remain unchanged.

“Everybody sets the AC to a preferred temperature,” Ghosh said. “In our case, we kept it at 24 degrees Celsius, at night, in summer, both last year and this year.”

Ghosh’s July bill showed a consumption of 924 units, around 40 per cent of what she consumed in August.

For someone like PN Gupta, an 82-year-old former journalist from Gulmohar Park, the bill amount went up to Rs 11,070 from a reasonable Rs 4,690 in July.

“The latest bill is for consumption between mid-July and mid-August. The previous one was for mid-June to mid-July,” said Gupta.

“There was not much difference in the weather or the temperatures in the two billing cycles.”

With complaints pouring in from across the city, RWAs’ Joint Front — the umbrella body for residents’ associations — has taken up the matter with the Delhi government and the power distribution companies.

“Discoms seem to be overcharging under the excuse of the power subsidy removal,” said Pankaj Aggarwal, general secretary of the Front. “But the increase in bills on that account would never be this much.”

But the discoms have several explanations handy. “People often don’t realise that air-conditioners use up huge amounts of electricity if set at lower temperatures,” said a BSES spokesman.

Residents are now drafting complaints to be sent together to the discom, the power regulator and the chief minister.