Sunday, January 29, 2017

Inflated power bills continue to haunt 61-year-old widow

Mid-Day: Mumbai: Sunday, January 29, 2017.
Through an RTI reply BEST has said that as their meter was not working properly, the amount has reached Rs 22 lakh.
Dadar-based Saraswati Singh got the shock of her life in August 2012 when she received a Rs 91,745 electricity bill from BEST for her closed flour mill.
Days have been miserable for this 61-year-old widow since then, as even after repeated complaints, the undertaking continued to send her inflated bills, which have amounted to more than R22 lakh on the present day.
After her husband passed away in 1990, her only source of income was the flour mill. However, due to a family dispute in March 2012, it had to be shut down. Thereafter, BEST started charging her a basic amount every month as power bill.
However, the entire scenario changed when she received the first inflated bill.
Is anyone hearing?
Speaking to mid-day, Saraswati said, "I made several complaints to BEST, but all of it has fallen on deaf ears. Since August 2012 I have been getting bills more than R50,000 every month."
She further said, "In September 2012, I received a bill of Rs 70,000, which was Rs 92,000 in October. The total amount has already reached R22 lakh. My grandson is fighting for me since nobody paid any heed to my complaints."
Shocking reply
When asked about the issue, Saraswati's 37-year-old grandson Vibhash Singh, who works as a production assistant in the film industry said, "I had filed an RTI query to know the exact reason behind the inflated bills. I was shocked when I received a reply from BEST this month saying that there was some problem with their meter."
Meter disconnected
He further said, "BEST officials disconnected the meter in September 2014, but by that time the total bill amount was already Rs 12 lakh. After that they stopped sending us bills. However, this month they sent me a message saying that we have to pay Rs 22,49,750."
"Recently I got a reply from BEST through RTI that they would deduct R18,33,697 from the total amount as their meter was not working properly from June 2011 to September 2014," he added.
Will look into the matter
When contacted, BEST committee chairman Mohan Mithbavkar told mid-day, "We have asked for certain documents from Vibhash. After we receive them, the concerned official will be asked to investigate the matter and find out what exactly happened."