Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court will hear a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the inflated electricity bills on Friday.
The PIL has been filed by Hyderabad City Congress Committee (HCCC) Minorities Department Chairman Sameer Waliullah through senior advocate Mohammed Rafiuddin Kaleem. In the WP PIL 128/2020, Sameer has requested the High Court to direct the power utility firms not to collect the domestic electricity bill charges during the lockdown period.
“Power utility firms are trying to extort huge amounts from the common people by sending them bills for over 90 days at once. The bills were prepared in an erratic manner by calculating the units consumed during the last three months cumulatively. This automatically pushed the consumers into upper slabs wherein they will be charged higher rates per units. It is highly unfortunate that the State Government did not come to the rescue of poor consumers and instead, Energy Minister Jagadish Reddy openly defended the wrong bills,” he alleged.
Sameer Waliullah said that the State Government should waive off the bills for electricity consumed during the entire lockdown period. “Common people were forced to stay at their house due to lockdown in view of Coronavirus and therefore, the consumption during this period was bound to increase. The common man cannot be punished for the decisions taken by the Central and State governments in larger public interest. They cannot be asked to pay more just because the government tried to save lives by forcing people to stay in their homes,” he said.
The Congress leader pointed out that electricity was an essential need for the people and therefore, it cannot be treated only as a commercial commodity or service. He said lakhs of people have lost their jobs while others faced huge cuts in their salaries. All small businesses have collapsed and a majority of people were left with no savings as they had spent it on food and other basic needs during the lockdown period. Therefore, he feels that the Telangana government cannot expect people to pay inflated bills for 90 days at once or even in instalments immediately after lifting the lockdown. “The State Government should pay the entire bill amount to the power firms as subsidy. If they can provide free power to the farm sector and give subsidy to industries why it can’t waive off power bills for domestic consumers for the lockdown period,” he demanded.
Sameer Waliullah said that through his advocates, he would present his case in the High Court with all relevant documents and arguments to seek relief for the common people.