Ministry of Water and Power Secretary Mohammad Younus Dagha on Thursday issued show cause notice to Additional DG IS, Iesco and officials in Power Information Technology Company (PITC) over the charges of not updating the web-based electricity bills by Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO)

According to officials, Dagha directed the officials in IESCO and PITC to immediately ratify the issue and update all columns in the web-based electricity bills so that the consumers have full information about their monthly electricity bills.

The Ministry has taken effective steps to publish all details of surcharges, taxes, tariff, subsidy, fuel price adjustment and other related billing information on the electricity bills for all consumers, the officials said.

The IESCO, however, clarified that on actual bills that are delivered to the consumers these information are included.

The insiders on other hand said that the show cause notice is merely a cover up.” It is an attempt to grab media attention, the real problem is not printing amount on bills, but excess meter reading, instead of doing something about excess billing, ministry took action on a non-issue”, an official said.

According to officials 13000 Iesco staff is serving the huge customer base of 2.4 million in the area spread from Attock to Jhelum and from the river Indus to River Neelum in Kashmir.

We don’t have enough meter readers, one meter reader has to read at least 200 meters; in last couple of days of each month, which is humanly impossible, that’s the reason, meter readers just post excess units in the sheets, which result in generating huge excess revenues per month, making distribution company and the ministry both happy, an official said.

Last year, in her last days, the then Secretary Nargis Sethi tried to increase the number of meter readers, but due to strong opposition from some of Ministry of Water and Power officials, NEPRA, and Ministry of Finance she had to postpone the step and soon powerful mafia of Water and Power, NEPRA and other related departments allegedly sent her home.

The official explained that if one consumer, for example, uses 200 units per month, and it costs say, Rs. 5 per unit, by adding only one unit to his bill, he would be charged Rs.8 for entire 201 units and the price of electricity would exceed from Rs. 1000 to Rs.1608, likewise he would have to pay more taxes, and the whole amount would go to the profit account of the company.

He alleged that in recognition of generating more revenues the Ministry of Water and Power, close their eyes on theft cases of distribution companies, after receiving lions share.

Insiders believe that it was due to the benefits of excess billing, that IESCO never implemented the system of meter reading of the consumers through Andriod mobile phones.