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Residents get inflated water bills, avg invoicing blamed

Residents get inflated water bills, avg invoicing blamed

A Sector 48 consumer got a bill for Rs 53,588 with late payment surcharge of Rs 5,358.



Tribune News Service

Sandeep Rana

Chandigarh, June 7

With the city municipal corporation resorting to average billing, residents have complained of receiving inflated bills. The civic body had recently found around 42,000 water meters in the city lying defective for the past five years. The consumers have been complaining of receiving average bills irrespective of their water consumption.

42,000 meters found defective

  • In March, civic body found 42,000 water meters lying defective for past five years in the city
  • Bills based on their average use are being issued to consumers, irrespective of their actual water consumption

Senior Deputy Mayor Kanwarjit Singh Rana has demanded an end to the practice and sought visit by MC staff to houses to take current reading before bills are issued.

“We have been receiving complaints of inflated bills. In most cases, residents keep getting wrong/inflated bills for months before they realise their meter is out of order or faulty,” says the Burail councillor.

Similarly, councillor Rajinder Sharma says: “A family in Sector 48 that has been staying abroad for the past few months recently received a bill for over Rs 53,000. The meter was later found faulty, but they were not aware of the fact that the MC was resorting to average billing. In other cases, bills range between Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 due to this practice.”

We have been receiving complaints of inflated bills. In most cases, residents keep getting wrong or inflated bills for months before they realise their meter is actually out of order or faulty.

— Kanwarjit Singh Rana, Senior Deputy Mayor

“Though consumers should also be vigilant, the MC should ensure current meter reading is taken and owners are made aware of any anomaly in the meter. This will allow them to get it fixed and avoid overbilling. In case of a faulty meter, the cost of bill increases manifold as the meter can run on air,” he says.

From March, the MC had started issuing notices to consumers to get their meters replaced and pay the cost of replacing these. MC Commissioner Anindita Mitra says: “Such issues will not crop up in the near future as the corporation is installing ultrasonic smart water meters under the 24x7 water supply project. Once these are installed, MC staff will not be required to visit houses to take the reading, which will be visible on the SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system. The new meters, which are already being installed in Mani Majra. Their readings are 100% accurate.”

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