Islamabad: A recent revelation in the country exposes a significant scam involving the overbilling of electricity consumers, amounting to billions of rupees.
This scandal, described as the largest of its kind in Pakistan, indicates that consumers were charged excessively despite the already high cost of electricity.
In August, distribution companies amassed billions more from consumers, leading the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to initiate an inquiry into the matter.
According to Nepra sources, the subsequent inquiry report confirmed the occurrence of overbilling in the August electricity bills.
Numerous distribution companies were implicated in the fraudulent practice, particularly affecting the Lesco and Hesco regions where the highest instances of overbilling were identified.
The modus operandi included charging protected customers with non-protected bills and manipulating readings by intentionally delaying them, ultimately adding protected users to the non-protected category.
Lesco and Hesco regions experienced the most substantial overbilling, with other distribution companies also involved in the malpractice.
The intentional delay in recording readings, typically 3 to 4 days beyond the scheduled date, contributed to the inflated bills.
Moreover, non-protected users were erroneously billed, and additional charges under the guise of meter conversion were imposed by the distribution companies.
In response to the widespread issue, Nepra took notice of the over-billing problem in September, prompted by numerous consumer complaints.
The regulatory authority promptly established an inquiry committee, which has now concluded its investigation, and Nepra has decided to make the findings public.
This move reflects the gravity of the situation, as the report’s disclosure is expected to shed light on the extent of the overbilling scandal perpetrated by various distribution companies in the country.