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Rashmi Rekha Das

Tata Power has drawn flak for allegedly exploiting consumers with inflated bills and service-related discrepancies. At a time the power DISCOM is raking in the moolah by allegedly cheating its customers, the latter have little knowledge about the company's cheating.

As per the allegations, the company is deceiving the customers through pro rata billing which ensures that you don't get charged for a service you haven’t used. Customers are made to pay bill for 25-27 days instead of 30 days. As a result, customers have to pay bills for 13-14 times instead of 12 times in a year. This leads to violation of slab norms.

Take the case of Soubhagya De, a resident of Bhubaneswar. In the month of May he had to pay for two free units when the DISCOM billed him for 48 free units instead of 50 units. In the second slot, Soubhagya had to pay for 144 units instead of 150 units. This way, he had to make payments for extra 8 units which led him to pay Rs 45-50 extra.

Priyabrata Mohapatra, a resident of Balasore said, “Tata Power is exploiting its customers by violating guidelines of the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission. Going by the Clause 148 of OERC Distribution Conditions of Supply Code 2019, customers are pro rata billing when they ask for electricity disconnection. According to another clause, reading must be done for an entire month." 

"Though Tata Power is breaching its norms openly, OERC has kept mum on the issue. OERC’s silence, meanwhile, has raised many questions among us. More than 95 lakh customers are dependent on Tata Power out of which 50 per cent customers are being cheated. This way, Tata is earning more than Rs 12 crore illegally," he alleged.

However, energy analyst Anand Mohapatra refuted such allegations saying there is no truth that consumers are being exploited with inflated bills.

Earlier, CEO of Tata Power North, Bhaskar Sarkar on Wednesday after having discussion with Standing Committee of Energy, refuted the claims of inflated energy bills. 

“We had not done maintenance work last year due to covid and cyclone. We are presently looking after maintenance so that our consumers will not have to face power outage in coming days,” he had said.

Meanwhile, TPCODL has come up with a clarification, stating, "DISCOMs have adopted SAP-based billing system in which it is ensured that consumers get correct bills and slab benefits as per the tariff order."

"All charges that form part of a consumer's electricity bill served by TP Odisha DISCOMs are strictly in adherence with OERC regulation and tariff order," the TPCODL informed.

"The electricity duty is levied as per Odisha Electricity (Duty) Act, 1961 and at the rate prescribed by the state government. Such duties are collected and paid to the State government."

"Meter rent is charged for meters supplied by DISCOMs at rates prescribed by OERC. It is collected over a period of 60 months only. Once a customer pays meter rent for 60 months, no further charges are levied on the same head," it stated.

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