NEPRA Rejects Discos’ Proposal on Detection Bills Period


ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has dismissed a proposal from electricity distribution companies (Discos) to extend the period for issuing detection bills under the Consumer Service Manual (CSM). NEPRA decided to retain the current two billing cycle limit for supplementary bills in cases of slow or defective metering installations.

Gujranwala Electric Power Company (GEPCO) had filed a petition with the Supreme Court of Pakistan challenging a November 2019 Lahore High Court judgment regarding detection bills for slow metering. The Supreme Court, expressing concern over irregular billing practices, remanded the matter to NEPRA to reassess the relevant clause of the CSM.

Following the Supreme Court’s directive, NEPRA held a hearing on May 13, 2023, to review the issue. NEPRA’s analysis revealed that the two billing cycle limit for detection bills, established in a 1999 WAPDA policy, remained valid under the CSM-2010 and CSM-2021. Despite this, Discos have been issuing detection bills beyond the allowed period, violating NEPRA regulations.

NEPRA noted that the slow replacement of faulty meters by Discos leads to billing disputes and financial burdens on consumers. The regulator emphasized that efficient detection and replacement of defective meters within the stipulated two billing cycles is crucial. NEPRA also highlighted the role of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Automated Meter Reading (AMR) systems in improving billing accuracy and reducing revenue losses.

To enforce compliance, NEPRA has mandated disciplinary actions against Disco officials who fail to address metering discrepancies within the specified timeframe. The decision aims to ensure fair billing practices and operational efficiency in the power distribution sector.

Story by Mushtaq Ghumman

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