The Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM) began issuing bills this week after a month-long gap, but city residents immediately began to question whether their electricity bills had been inflated.
However, this is not the case. Due to the lockdown, officials could not take metre readings in the month of April, and bills were generated based on the average electricity usage of the customer for the previous three months.
For the bill in May, residents would have had to pay for the usage in March and April (since metre readings resumed). For residents who paid the April bill (the average amount calculated average of past three months) online through the BESCOM website or other payment portals, the same has been adjusted in the May billing cycle.
There have been no changes in the tariffs, officials said.
Like many other electricity suppliers in the country, BESCOM charges different tariffs based on usage to incentivise lower consumption.
Aside from fixed charges and other additions, domestic users in Bengaluru pay Rs 3.75/unit for the first 30 units, Rs 5.20/unit for the next 31-100 units and Rs 6.75/unit for the next 101-200. Rs 7.8/unit are for subsequent usages in a month.
For the calculation of two months’ bill, BESCOM approximately doubled the slabs to 1-61, 61-203 and so on. Which means, Rs 3.75/unit is being charged for use of 1 to 61 units, and so on.
The utility company reasoned that since many customers are staying in their homes during the lockdown, the consumption is much higher. The arrival of summer, as well as increased usage of computers and laptops for those working from home, has also added to the domestic power usage.
In a detailed statement, BESCOM said, “In domestic category, due to various reasons including an increase in the use of fans, ACs, and as many of the IT and BT (Information and Bio-technology) as well as other sector personnel are working from home, the maximum demand reading and consumption has gone slightly higher in the month of April. Consequently, the metre reading done in the month of May has been high for the domestic category.”
It added, “Also, the unpaid amount of the April month has been added resulting in a higher amount. BESCOM categorically makes it clear that all rationals have been followed while calculating the electricity bills.”
In case consumers still feel that the bill charged is higher than the actual consumption, BESCOM has requested them to call 1912.