Bescom charges shock consumers


Bengaluru: Bescom consumers in the city have received bills for additional deposits, some high as Rs 3,000.  Consumers at billing counters said the deposit had been paid at the time the power connection was obtained and couldn't understand why they had to pay the extra fee. 
“I have been paying the Bescom bills for many years, and my consumption has remained more or less same. Why am I being asked to pay the deposit only now?” said an irate consumer at the Uttara Halli billing station. 
Officials from Bescom, however, justify the charges, saying that they are being collected as per the directions of Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Board (KERC) during the first quarter of the year.
“According to KERC regulations. the initial security deposit was collected from the consumers at the time of installation, but are subject to an audit review each year. If the deposits fall short by about two months’ worth of bills in the previous year, the difference between two-month bill and the security deposit will be collected from the consumer during first quarter of the year as an additional deposit,” N Timmegowda, General Manager (Revenue), Bescom.
The official further added that this is because Bescom gives the bill to the consumer after electricity has been consumed for a month. “Additional 45 days are given to consumers to make the bill payment. If one doesn't pay the bill within 45 days, an interest is charged on the bill,” Timmegowda said.
Power experts feel that the Bescom is not transparent enough with its billing process. “Merely mentioning the additional deposit amount in the bill is not enough. Bescom must provide the average consumption details of the consumers so that there is complete clarity over the additional payment,” said an expert.

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