My complaint to BESCOM: further developments

 

This is my feedback to you on the matter of disconnection of the power supply to my home.
 
Ms. Surekha called me up from the J P Nagar office of BESCOM and informed me that my bank had dishonoured the ECS payment for August and September, and hence my electricity was cut. She told me that this was also the reason for the lineman demanding the deposit of Rs 1600, and that I should immediately pay  the amount due for electricity charges for  October by cash. 
 
Fearing another disconnection, I went on Monday, 17th Nov and paid the amount in cash as I was told to do. I then went to the bank, where I found that every ECS had been honoured, and that there were no arrears at all. So I went to the  J P Nagar office, and met Ms Surekha. She looked at her computer and showed me that two entries appeared as “cancelled”  and said that there might be a software problem; she said that there was some “new software” and that a few homes had difficulties. 
 
 I showed her my updated bank passbook with each month’s amount properly debited. I left the details, and my landline and mobile no.s with her. She said she would follow it up.
 
She told me that the person who could deal with this was away, and would only return on Wednesday and asked me to call after 12 noon on Wednesday, the 19th Nov.
 
However, this morning, (18th November) two linemen appeared at my door and took down my landline and mobile nos. Shortly thereafter, I got a call from Ms Padmaja, who told me that I had been issued a demand notice in April for the deposit, and the bank had not honoured it. She said that because of this, my electricity was cut off.
 
I was very much in Bangalore in April, and did not receive either the notice, nor any initmation from the bank that such a demand had been made (I travelled abroad only in June.)  Ms Padmaja told me that sometimes if the consumer is not at home, the demand notice is left “near the meter”. Is this any way  of ensuring that the consumer gets an important notice, which might result in disconnection? Also, I fail to understand: even if I  had not paid the amount in April, why was the power disconnected in October? Ms Padmaja also told me to give standing instructions to the bank to honour any demand notice from BESCOM. On reflection, I am unable to agree with this directive.
 
I am not getting a single, logical explanation of why my power was disconnected, and why the deposit was demanded and taken in October, and why I was asked to pay the last month’s dues by cash when the ECS is still in effect. 
 
I am worried that my account will once again be debited with the last month’s dues on the date of ECS collection, and I am also worried that at any time my power may get disconnected without any warning, and I may have to run around as I have been doing. I have taken the ECS service precisely to avoid this kind of situation, and yet I find myself in trouble.
 
I would like a detailed explanation of this as I am unable to understand the  different explanations provided by the BESCOM personnel.
 
I thank you for the prompt response so far, and I look forward to hearing from you again.
Deepa Mohan
About Deepa Mohan 715 Articles

Deepa Mohan is a freelance writer and avid naturalist.

6 Comments

  1. my electric meter got burnt out…so i have to replace it..now i have a problem with getting new bills..the AEE says that it will be done by JEE, and JEE seems is not interested to check what is the issue also…i am really clueless how to check and whom to check…i also have a problem that i have to run between two office…as one office ppl says to check with other office ppl..i dont know why it cannot be centralized…and can be done in one office, the home branch.

  2. Apparently there HAS been a snafu with the bank, and I am sorting it out. But the when and why of the demand for a Security Deposit, and the reason why my power was disconnected (one person says it’s because the ECS was dishonoured, another that I had not paid the Security Deposit demanded, today I heard the version that the lineman had been sent to disconnect xyz consumer no, and he disconnected mine, which was xzy)remains murky and unexplained, Usha. But the amount of effort needed to sort all this out is still immense…and very exhausting.

  3. As long as electricity/water supply continue to be a monopoly, such attitudes/taken for grantednes will persist in these agencies.Things work,albeit slowly and inefficiently, because a few efficient people work with them. I have heard going to consumer courts usually gets quick results. Is this the escalated mail? Consumer resistance is the only way we can hope to change the system a bit. Best of luck.

  4. @Arathi – Consider this scenario, you send an email to someone at BESCOM with a gmail id, how do you authenticate? Anyone in the world can create a bescom.md @gmail.com or another similar official sounding email id. And what happens if the BESCOM official denies that this is her/his id? All these thoroughly unprofessional methods used by banks (and many firms) and government officials have to be scrutinized carefully. Another piece of nonsense “THIS IS A COMPUTER GENERATED LETTER AND THEREFORE NO SIGNATURE IS REQUIRED” ???!!! – And we claim to have the largest number of software people in the world!

  5. BESCOM MD/ employees have been using gmail for several years, and I have found that it has been working efficiently for communication. Good that you are pursuing this Deepa. It will benefit everyone in the long run.

  6. I have an issue too with BESCOM. Interestingly they have deleted all my old complaints without resolving them or clubbing them together to show the history of the same problem! Another interesting fact, the consumer relations person has a gmail id ! So I dont know if it is for official complaints or a personal ones. So much for their process and software! My problem is with being billed for 3 months in one month and not taking into account the slabs. I have been given various verbal assurances that the money is with “BESCOM only” and will be adjusted. No such thing has happened; the new bill does not reflect any adjustments. When I tried to escalate, BESCOM officials either do not understand or do not want to understand the fraud committed and brush aside the assertion that BESCOM has incorrectly billed me and this is serious! If I have to take such issues up with the MD (and I have no clout to reach the people at the top, except maybe send him an email (gmail??) which may simply go to the spam folder. The biggest problem I see with the so-called ‘e-governance’ is the ease with which the data and records are manipulated. The software company has not made any provision for auditing data or taken any steps to prevent such actions by fraudsters/insiders. I can only imagine how our electronic voting machines work!

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