K-Electric (KE) has reportedly netted hundreds of million rupees by overbilling the citizens of Karachi for July 2021.
According to a report by Geo News, the company has charged numerous consumers for 32 days in July instead of the permitted maximum of 30 days.
While the actual number of affectees is unknown, the report revealed that the residents of Gulshan, Korangi, Defence, Scheme 33, and North Nazimabad have been identified among them.
The overcharging was determined through a comparison of the meter reading data on the bills of June and July. The report detailed that hundreds of bills from these areas were checked and all of them have been charged for more than 30 days, indicating that the overbilling was not accidental.
As per the report, “The issue did not affect a particular area or a batch of customers: rather, customers whose meter reading dates were as much as a week apart were also billed for 32 days, suggesting that the change may have been a result of a blanket policy”.
The residential consumers (single-phase meter) who are charged as per the tariff slabs are likely to have been affected the most. For example, a user who received a bill for between 701-747 units may have been charged nearly Rs. 4,000 more than what they should actually pay.
With over 2 million residential customers, Karachi’s lone power supplier could have netted hundreds of millions in additional revenue for the period in question.
In response to the report, a National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) official described the move as ‘illegal’ and said that K-Electric will have to explain its position on the matter before the regulator.
The Terms and Conditions of Tariff set by the NEPRA for K-Electric clearly limit the billing period to a maximum duration of 30 days.
Clause 1 of General Definitions reads: “‘Month’ or ‘Billing Period’ unless otherwise defined for any particular tariff category, means a billing month of 30 days or less reckoned from the date of the last meter reading”.
The report added that consumers can submit their complaints at the NEPRA office in Karachi.