Faulty electricity billing, meter readers’ corruption and harassment for new power connections have been causing immense sufferings to consumers in Chittagong.
This came up during a hearing by Anti-Corruption Commission at Bidyut Bhaban in the port city on Wednesday, where consumers urged the government to take measures to save them from the malpractice of Power Development Board officials.
Salma Akhter from the city’s Tiger Pass area said that the meter reader never went to her house but a few months ago PDB issued a fake bill of Tk 8,000.
‘For the last two months we have been requesting PDB offices to take necessary action but they turned a deaf ear,’ she complained.
Halishar area resident Md Muslim said that meter reader never visited his house for last one and half year but recently he received a bill of Tk 60,000.
Another resident of Halishar Md Junayed Iqbal, Md Mohiuddin of North Patenga, Farida Khatun of EPZ area, Md Yousuf of Bibirhat and many others blamed PDB for over billing and meter readers fictitious bill.
Consumer Abu Bakar alleged that he contacted bill collectors and PDB officials about overbilling but in reply assistant bill collector Omar told him that there was nothing that he could do.
The ACC and Corruption Protection Committee of Chittagong and Metropolitan jointly organised the 2nd phase follow-up hearing.
Few consumers mentioned lack of vehicle during emergency, installation of pre-paid meter in all areas, setting up of adequate transformers as major problems of PDB in ensuring better service.
ACC divisional director Akhter Hossain said that they received 38 complaints for this hearing. The 1st hearing was held on 29 March 2017 where they received 13 complaints.
Bangladesh Power Development Board’s chief engineer (distribution) southern zone Prabir Kumar Sen said that in Chittagong there were nearly 10 lakh consumers of PDB. Among them, only three lakh were under digital pre-paid service.
At the hearing, ACC commissioner (investigation) Nasir Uddin Ahmed urged the chief engineer to issue an office order for holding weekly hearing in 12 divisional offices of PDB Chittagong to ensure a standard power service to the consumers.
Emphasising awareness campaign, the commissioner said that the consumers did not have any access to PDB divisional officers so they sought help from peons, meter readers, bill collectors, who grabbed the opportunity to earn extra.
Slamming PDB officials, the commissioner ordered them to organise weekly hearing every Saturday from 3:00pm to 5:00pm.
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