The decision of Tangedco to stop door-to-door meter reading in the city has not gone down well with consumer activists as well as its engineering staff.
Having extended the last date for payment of electricity bills from May 10 to 24, Tangedco again revised the date to June 7, stopped door-to-door assessment and asked the domestic consumers to pay the electricity bill equivalent to the amount of the corresponding month in 2019 or take a reading of the meter on their own and accordingly pay the electricity bill for the May cycle.
Somasundaram, a consumer activist, alleged that when hundreds of operation and maintenance staff were attending to complaints of power breakdown, at times even in containment zones, exempting meter readers alone from their work was not a good administrative decision. It was causing much hardship to domestic consumers and brought a bad name to the power utility. He said that the consumers would have difficulty in taking down the reading because of technical issues with various digital meters.
Burden of complaints
A divisional engineer of Tangedco said unlike the static meter where one could easily find the number of units consumed, the lack of uniform installation of digital meters would result in wrong calculation of meter readings.
He said: “Already, electricity bill issues of hundreds of customers during the lockdown of last year are yet to be resolved by local officials, and this would burden local electricity staff.”
The official said there are more than 90 lakh domestic consumers in the city and the three neighbouring districts of Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu.
A senior official of Tangedco, confirming the petitions presented by a few unions of engineers regarding the leniency shown towards the assessors, said the assessors’ unions had refused to take up door-to-door billing during the lockdown and so it was forced to give the options of self-assessment or pay the amount equivalent to the corresponding month bill of 2019. However, there would be more clarity in a few days, he added.