Paying your electricity bill online may be convenient but it does not come cheap.
The Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) charges an extra amount if one pays through their credit or debit card and residents are not amused.
The discom authorities say they would run into losses if they do not charge a levy.
DHBVN collects 1% of the bill amount and 12.36% service tax extra. To avoid the extra burden, residents prefer to pay at local collection centres and are giving a thumbs-down to the discom's online payment scheme.
K Ganesan, a resident, said, “It is only DHBVN which is charging extra from customers. Other government agencies like BSNL do not charge even a rupee extra. Authorities need to formulate some strategy to make the system more consumer friendly.”
Another resident Atul Sharma echoed the sentiments.
“I have stopped paying my electricity bill online. I don't think the facility will prove helpful if they charge a hefty fee for it. Now, a private service provider comes to my house, collects the cheque and returns the receipt for a small fee,” he added.
In 2008, the online payment service was initiated by DHBVN to cut down long queues at the collection centres.
Kapil Marwah, chief accounts officer and financial advisor of DHBVN, said, “If we do not charge extra, the discom will have to bear that amount and we would be in losses. A small trader can afford to not charge service tax or 1% extra but we have a turnover of R550 crore and we cannot bear losses.”
He further said, “The extra tax is levied only when the customer uses his credit or debit card. There are no charges for online payments through National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT),” he added.