ISLAMABAD: Businessmen in a meeting at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry strongly protested against the installation of new faster electricity meters, which run 30-35 percent faster than the old ones and called upon the government to ensure their urgent replacement to save the business activities from further damage and consumers from unjustified overbilling.
Chairing the meeting, Muzzamil Hussain Sabri, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that business community has been demanding since long for replacement of new meters as they were running faster while Discos have been denying this stand. However, Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission has now proved this fact as it has confirmed that Discos have installed new meters which are running at least 30-35 percent faster than the old ones. He said government should order Discos for urgent replacement of all faster meters and ensure standardization of all electricity meters to ensure that consumers are billed only for actual consumption of electricity. He said despite long hours load shedding, consumers are crying against heavy bills, which shows that massive presumptive billing has been done.
He said that Discos have replaced millions of meters in the past couple of years and have reportedly generated about Rs.15-16 billion as additional revenue for July 2014 due to massive overbilling. He stressed that government should take strong action against the culprits and also direct Discos to return 35 percent money back to the power consumers to do justice with them. He said government should ask all Discos to upload monthly revenue collection figures on respective websites to ensure transparency.
Businessmen termed the installation of faster meters a criminal activity just to fleece the consumers in order to enhance the revenue of power companies. They said massive electricity bills have drastically reduced the purchasing power of majority of people and badly affected business activities as consumers have been forced to cut purchasing of many items for paying very high power bills.
Thus high electricity cost in Pakistan has negatively impacted the overall economy as it has caused high inflation, increased cost of doing business, discouraged investment, reduced purchasing power of common man, affected business activities, made our exports uncompetitive in international market and retarded the economic growth of the country.
ICCI President urged the government to introduce drastic improvements in the power sector to ensure transparent billing and focus on cheap power generation sources, especially hydro power to meet the rising energy demand of the country. He was of the view that the cheap electricity will bring multiple benefits for the economy as it will provide great relief to people, attract more investment, create plenty of new jobs and give big boost to business and economic activities.