Bihar man gets Rs 13 lakh electricity bill, officials revise it to Rs 3K

Bihar power firm raises an inflated energy bill of Rs 12.81 lakh on a poor mason, but corrects it after media hype.

india Updated: Jul 14, 2017 00:53 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
power firm,energy bill,mason
An official of the power firm hands over the revised bill to mason Manoj Kumar after changing his faulty energy metre in Samastipur. (Photo courtesy: NBPDCL)

PATNA: A poor mason with just four LED bulbs, a TV and a ceiling fan in a one-room house in Bihar’s Samastipur district, was served an energy bill of Rs 13 lakh, only to be corrected to Rs 2,992 after the power firm realised its folly on Thursday.

Having received the bill in March, Manoj Kumar had struggled to get it rectified till the media got a whiff of it.

As the Hindustan Times approached the power officials for comments, within hours, an image-conscious energy department sorted out the matter - having slashed the net payable amount by Rs 12.82 lakh, changed the faulty energy meter of the consumer, issued a showcause notice to the junior engineer (revenue) concerned, while also deciding to change the rural revenue franchisee of the area.

All this happened in quick time - less than six hours to be precise.

Aggrieved Manoj Kumar told HT over phone: “I received a bill of Rs 1335 in January. No one came to take the reading in February. In March, I was served a bill of Rs 1.74 lakh. I then went to the billing office in Mathurapur for correction. Again, there was no meter reading done in April, May and June. In July, I was served a bill of Rs 12.81 lakh.”

The revised energy bill.

Director (HR), Bihar State Power Holding Company Limited, R Lakshmanan said, “The meter was faulty and the reading had jumped to show an abnormal energy consumption of 86,780 units in February. The negligence on the part of our officers was that the junior engineer (JE)-revenue, who is supposed to cross-check cases of abnormal billing, did not do so before releasing the bill to the consumer. We have issued a showcause notice to the officer concerned.”

Suspecting that this may not be a one-off case, the power firm has also ordered that energy bills over Rs 1 lakh of domestic, non-domestic and low-tension industrial subscriber be screened in Samastipur.

Lakshmanan said the revised bill of Rs 2,992 was cumulative of the average bill since February 2017, when the meter went awry, and the actual consumption between July 2016 and January 2017. Kumar had last paid his energy bill in June 2016.

First Published: Jul 13, 2017 20:15 IST