Islamabad - The residents of twin cities are facing problems in registering their complaints about unannounced loadshedding and other faults after the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) disbanded its complaint centre.

“The unannounced loadshedding and low voltage have become a routine matter. When we contact on numbers given on consumer bill, nobody picks up the cell phone, while the staff who receives landline calls give us some other number, which is again not picked up,” said Khalid Hussain, a resident of Banigala.

The residents of Malpur, Bhara Kahu and Tramri also voiced same complaints, showing the compliant numbers 03355841492, 0519204966 and 03408880900 on their bills. “Calls on mobile phones are not picked up, while the official who picks up landline phone says that it was Laal Masjid complaint centre and residents of other areas except G-6 are not entertained,” they said.

In most of the areas falling in the jurisdiction of IESCO, there is no mechanism for recording customers’ grievances.

The residents said that despite visiting customer centres, their complaints of unannounced loadshedding and excessive billings are not addressed. However, they said that in case of transformer or line fault, the staff could only be mobilised through strong political references.

The sources in the distribution company claim that the management made the complaint centre dysfunctional and dissolved it almost six months back. In February last year, the company announced establishing a state of the art multipurpose Call Centre 118 to address and redress the complaints of its over 2.3 million customers. But the project was dismantled after eating up all the resources, same like the mobile phone meter reading project, sources claimed. The sources claimed that another reason for dismantling the department was that the number of breakdowns and unannounced loadshedding were being recorded. They claim that the move was aimed to get good money out of the auction of the proposed privatisation of the distribution company. They also claimed that in dismantling of the compliant centre NEPRA and ministry of water and power were also taken on board. After the move, the ministry of water and power and NEPRA are showing the company as most efficient, with minor technical faults and no unannounced loadshedding or excessive billing. The consumers also showed dissatisfaction on Chief Executive Monitoring Cell, established to hear grievances by top boss himself.

“They ask too many questions and do nothing. It is just to facilitate the elite. If you don’t have any reference, no one in the cell listens to ordinary complaints,” said Mujtaba Rashidi, another resident who is facing chronic problem of low voltage.

When contacted, the IESCO officials said the helpline 118 was dismantled after some technical problem but soon the company would announce a new facility.