The ongoing electricity bill hike issue has been raising eyebrows in Andhra Pradesh. Several people have complained of sharp hikes in their bill amounts while pleading the concerned officials to look into the same. The scene has been no different for many residents of Vizag too with scores of consumers taking social media over the last few days as their electricity bill amounted 4-5 times higher than usual. We spoke to a few troubled consumers who hope to find a resolution soon.
Mr. Srinath Sambandan, a resident of Kirlampudi Layout in Vizag posted pictures of his electricity bill on social media to point out the steep price difference. Speaking about the issue to Yo! Vizag, he said, “I usually pay around Rs. 3500-4000 every month. However, this month’s bill came up to Rs. 17,000. Something is seriously wrong with the billing procedure. I have heard numerous rumours stating that the billing contractor has changed, causing the error. Since the meter readings were collected for two months’ usage this time, the higher consumption rates could have been recorded.” Mr. Sambandhan stated that consumers will refuse to pay the bills if not rectified soon.
Echoing his thoughts, Dr. Rakesh Godavarthi, currently residing at Beach Road in Vizag said that all of his family and friends have received abnormally hiked electricity bill amounts this month. The doctor said, “This is a gross error committed by the electricity department. A staffer in our hospital received a bill of Rs. 2500 this month, as opposed to the Rs. 300 bill he receives usually. I urge the officials to look into the matter immediately.”
Mr. Vishal Pasari, an entrepreneur in Vizag stated that he visited the APEPDCL office at Seethammadhara to verify his electricity bill. “The officials themselves were conflicted and didn’t know why the bill amount was exorbitant. I approached them with all my bills, even the one from last summer to point out the difference. We haven’t used air conditioners this year, due to medical reasons – so that possibility is ruled out. Thousands of consumers I know have faced the same issue. However, the officers couldn’t give me substantial reasons for the bill amount; neither did the support staff on the 1912 helpline. They simply said we need to pay the bill as is, and need time to look into the matter. My usual bill amount doesn’t cross Rs. 5000. This month, the bill came to a whopping Rs. 22,000,” said the exasperated consumer.
While officials have stated that consumers can pay their bills with an extension of 45 days, there seems to be no resolution on the hiked bill amounts yet.