Bill shocks all around | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 03, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:27 AM, June 03, 2020

Bill shocks all around

Dhaka dwellers get weird power bills as they get those based on estimates

When Tariqul Islam, a resident of the capital's Kathalbagan area, received the copy of his apartment's electricity bill for March, he was caught off guard.

The amount shown on the bill issued by Dhaka Power Distribution Company Limited (DPDC) was more than double the usual bill, he said.

"I have received an electricity bill of Tk 4,200 for March as opposed to the average billing of Tk 1,500-2,000," said Tariqul, a businessman who has been struggling to maintain his family for the last two months as his income has dropped to almost zero due to the shutdown.

He said the same happened with the bill for the building's common utilities, including the lift, which went up to Tk 30,000 from the usual billing of Tk 10,000-11,000.

Most of the residents of the area are facing the same problem, he added.

Shajahan Sirazi, a resident of Malibagh, also faced a similar problem. His electricity bill for April stood at Tk2,596, up from the regular billing of around 1,500.

He said his family did not even use air conditioners during this period fearing Covid-19 infection.

"It is unacceptable and the authorities concerned should take immediate steps," said Sajahan, a private job holder.

Many Dhaka dwellers are facing the same problem in recent times.

DPDC Executive Director Harun-or-Rashid said the bills for March and April were prepared based on estimation as the metre readers could not take readings in person during this time due to the lockdown.

He said the extra amount of the last two months would be adjusted by the new bills.

"We are aware of the issue and it will be solved by June 10," the DPDC director said.

State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid at a meeting on Sunday told journalists that no subscribers would have to pay an excess bill.

DPDC has some 13.64 lakh subscribers. Of them, 9.23 lakh have postpaid connections while 4.41 lakh have prepaid, said Robiul Hasan, general manager of DPDC.

Meanwhile, the Energy Division of the power ministry has decided not to impose any surcharge on the delayed residential electricity bill for February to April and gas bill for February-May due to the pandemic.

Subscribers have been asked to provide the bill by June 30 to avail the benefit.

 

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