State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid said that a six-step programme is being taken to collect pending electricity bills during the corona period, including speedy correction of excess or defective bills.
He made the comments while responding to a question from Mahfuzur Rahman of Chattogram-3 constituency during a question-and-answer session in the Parliament on Monday.
The state minister said the government had announced a general holiday from March 26 to prevent coronavirus infection and an area-based lockdown was implemented.
“Considering the situation, the government allowed paying the electricity bills for the month of February, March, April and May by June 30 without any surcharge. As a result, most of the customers refrained from paying their bills, which has created a huge backlog,” he continued.
The state minister added that the measures taken to collect the dues include not to accumulate the units for several months and charge more units at once, to make separate electricity bills for each month, not to charge more tariff by billing more units at once, rectifying incorrect or excessive bills immediately, to prepare the electricity bill for the month of May (which is being made in June) properly by taking meter readings and to create the opportunity to pay the electricity bill from home through mobile, bKash, G-PAY, RobiCash and other online services.
Meanwhile, DPDC (Dhaka Power Distribution Company) arranged an online hearing on the ghost electricity bill on Sunday evening.
At the hearing, DPDC Managing Director Bikash Dewan said, “Every month we prepare the bill with proper readings, which could not be done because of coronavirus. That’s why we prepared an average bill. So, there were some mistake. Many customers have complained about extra bills. We are so sorry for this kind of suffering. But we will adjust all the bills.”
He went on to say, “A committee has been formed in this regard. Accused persons will be identified and punished by next June 30. If any customer is unable to pay his electricity bill by June 30, we will consider the issue of fines.”
Ruhul Amin, a consumer from the capital’s Moghbazar area, hurled abusive words at the official and said, “Why did you prepare the bill based on your assumptions? If the bill was not prepared in this way, the consumers would not have suffered.”
However, Bikash Dewan refuted his words by saying that they had prepared an average bill.
Executive Director (Operations) of DPDC Haroon-ur Rashid said, “No one has to pay extra electricity bill. The committee is working on it. The culprits will be found out and we will fix all the problem related to the bills of the customers.”