Nepra Shows Leniency Towards Discos, Delays Show-Cause for Overbilling


ISLAMABAD: Despite confirming significant over-billing by power distribution companies (Discos) during July-August 2023, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) opted for a lenient approach on Friday, refraining from issuing show-cause notices to the errant companies. Instead, Nepra directed the Discos to compensate consumers for the excess charges through upcoming bills.

In December, Nepra’s investigation revealed that all Discos, including K-Electric, had overcharged consumers by up to 100%, citing discrepancies in billing cycles and other irregularities. The regulator’s findings raised concerns about the integrity of revenue collection processes across Discos and prompted questions about the effectiveness of the ongoing anti-theft and recovery campaign.

Just a week prior, on February 15, Nepra had expressed dissatisfaction with the Discos’ responses to the overbilling issues and announced its intent to hold them accountable. It planned to issue formal show-cause notices within days, with the matter expected to be resolved within a month.

However, in a surprising turn of events, Nepra altered its approach. While acknowledging the violations, it opted to issue directives instead of immediate show-cause notices. Nepra cited this decision as being in the best interest of consumers and the sector, providing Discos an opportunity to rectify grievances.

Under the directive, Discos and K-Electric must address all discrepancies within a month or billing cycle and submit a compliance report within 30 days. Failure to comply will result in Nepra initiating formal proceedings under relevant regulations.

Additionally, Nepra instructed all Discos to adhere strictly to consumer service manuals and tariff terms, ensuring accurate meter readings, issuing detection bills, and replacing defective meters. Education of officers and staff about tariff rules was also emphasized.

(Source: Courtesy Dawn)

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