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ASEB stand on �faulty� billing

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 23 � Stung by wide media coverage about its charging and billing of large government establishments, the Assam State Electricity Board has clarified its position. In an official statement, the ASEB admitted to manual metering in the Raj Bhawan and said that computerized bills would be served after existing metering points are relocated to facilitate one metering point. However, it did not specify when the changes would take place.

On anomalous billing of Assam Legislative Assembly and State Secretariat, the ASEB explained that due to construction work in the capital complex there has been shifting and rearrangement of electrical distribution network inside the complex resulting in relocation of metering equipment. It then concedes,� �this has resulted in difficulty in installing our metering equipment due to certain technical compulsion�. Since the billing process has to be continued �we have devised a modality to prepare bills on average basis on connected load and previous consumption pattern�. It was because consumption was on average basis reflection that meter reading was not shown on the bill.

It was mentioned that after construction activities of the capital complex �are almost normalized, the billing points were conveniently located during May 2008 and digital meters installed�.

Significantly, the explanation does not state why, as the news report carried in The Assam Tribune states, there were exact units being consumed in different seasons of a year, and in different years. The possibility of any erroneous billing is completely sidelined in the case of the State Secretariat.

The statement, signed by the Deputy General Manager, Guwahati Electrical Circle 1, claims that the Government of Assam pays a fixed amount centrally to ASEB and that the government consumers have been �billed adequately� for their consumption.

Here it is worth mentioning that a senior ASEB official when contacted said that whether the government consumers have been billed justifiably is a debatable issue. In fact, he said, the ASEB has already requested the Government to consider enhancing the amount it pays for its electricity consumption.

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