MSEDCL terminates service of 71 meter reading agencies across Maharashtra

Published on Aug 22, 2022 10:26 PM IST

The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) has suspended the service of 71 defaulting meter reading agencies across the state following complaints from consumers about inaccurate bills

The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) has suspended the service of 71 defaulting meter reading agencies across the state. (HT FILE PHOTO)
The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) has suspended the service of 71 defaulting meter reading agencies across the state. (HT FILE PHOTO)
ByGrace Paul Vallooran

The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) has suspended the service of 71 defaulting meter reading agencies across the state following complaints from consumers about inaccurate bills.

Meter reading agencies work on a contract basis. They take meter readings at residential societies and houses for MSEDCL and are paid for each reading. But recently many consumers had reported wrong electricity readings and inaccurate bills.

“Due to rising consumer complaints about wrong electricity bills and other issues, MSEDCL has suspended services of 71 agencies,” said Bharat Pawar, deputy chief Public Relation Officers (PRO) of MSEDCL Pune region.

“This has led to a rise of approximately 575 crores in revenue to MSEDCL, in the last three to four months. Also, 41 employees have been served notices for their lax approach towards the issue,” said officials.

Madhukar Joshi, a resident of Katraj, said, his house is closed and yet he received a bill of 2,300 last month. “When I saw the bill, it had random numbers of units consumed when in reality the house was locked. This month, I got the bill of 4,000.”

Activists have slammed the power distribution firm saying consumers have suffered due to escalated bills. “What about the consumers who suffered punishment unnecessarily and the correction of those bills? Compensation should be recovered from the agencies and given to the complainants and these meter reading agencies should not be employed again in any division of MSEDCL”, said Vivek Velankar, Right to Information Act (RTI) activist and president of Sajag Nagrik Manch.

To make things easier for consumers, an app by MSEDCL is available on Google Play. They can read their meters themselves using this app, without the intervention of any meter reading agency. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.msedcl.app (consumers can upload their readings on the website also)

Last week, Velankar filed a complaint to the Maharashtra Energy Regulatory Commission (MERC) about not publishing mandatory data on their website. Following this, the company published the reliability indices of the past three months, which showed that there were 30,748 power interruptions in the state in June alone. This is a steep increase from 14,771 in May and 21,817 in April.

“We aim to give 24X7 power supply to consumers. But due to weekly maintenance works and rainfall, power interruptions occur,” said Anil Kamble, chief PRO of MSEDCL.

“The data that is published on the website should be in simple and understandable language. It has to be notified on the home page so that consumers are aware of their right to an uninterrupted power supply. The public should create pressure for the same,” said Velankar.

Kamble said, “We usually publish the data quarterly. It is published after approval from the MERC, which takes some time. The indices will be published next in October.”

Velankar said, “According to the Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF) rules, any complaint has to be addressed within 15 days, but MSEDCL takes months to do so.”

He added that this was the third time that he had to complain in the past one and half years, for various reasons.

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