Electricity issues rile consumers in Pokhara

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    POKHARA, Sept 7: The electricity meter of Ambar Bahadur Gurung living in Nadipur-3 of Pokhara is broken. He had submitted a complaint about the problem but in the same month he received a new bill with charge more than the previous months.

    He had paid Rs 2,600, 3,100 and 3,000 in electricity charges in the Nepali months of Jeth, Ashadh and Shrawan, respectively. He received a bill of Rs 7,000 in the month of Nepali month of Bhadra.
    Buddhi Kumari Gurung of Batulechauri has been living in the darkness since the past five days.

    Though she had informed Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) about it, the issue has been neglected. “They did not respond when I reported through phone so I went to the office to report it.”

    Thirty-three locals complained about issues related to electricity at an event organized by Civil Society for Good Governance Kaski in cooperation with Transparency International Nepal. Most of them said bare wire and broken meter were the causes of the problems they were facing.

    Some suggested that coupon system should be introduced replacing unmanaged queue in the office. Prakash Basyaula residing in Prithivi Chowk said it would be easier if token system was introduced. He claimed that electricity officials were more involved in extra organizational activities than their designated work, because of which the consumers were suffering.

    Premlal BK of Tamagi-23 pointed that electricity has been disrupted in his village since the past three years. “Officials say the system is broken,” BK said: “It is hard for us because it is difficult travelling from home to the electricity office. Officials do not want to listen to our concern.”

    According to Padam Bahadur Gurung, meter readers from NEA haven’t visited his house at Birauta, Biruwamarga, since the past seven months. He has to read the meter himself and go to the NEA office to pay the charge.

    Dwarika Kumar Shrestha of Gharipatan-17 said that despite the line cut, they have not received any compensation.

    “If there is delay in payment of the bill we have to pay fine, but the officials have liberty to do anything they like,” he told Republica: “They treat consumers very poorly. If we ask anything them anything that we don’t know, they feel irritated.”

    Naran Sapkota of Madi Rural Municipality-7 said that the placement of electric poles at long distance was the cause of frequent line cut. He said the line cut takes place three to four times a day. Another local, Shanti Poudel, suggested that the bare wires should be managed. She said that the bare wires in front of her house posed great risk when it rained. She added it would be easier if electricity bill could be paid online.

    Bhanu Parajuli, program officer at Transparency International Nepal, said that he found consumers having trouble while lodging complaints. Most of the consumers said the problem was in wire as well as in the meter reading. “Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) should be answerable to the consumers,” Parajuli said: “They should work on the primary problem of their consumers first.”
    Suraj Gautam, head of NEA Pokhara Distribution Center said that the complaints would be resolved in sequential manner. He said that they had no budget to manage bare wire, and that wind and storm were causing problem.

    “We don’t have an appropriate area to place transformers,” Gautam said: “Locals demand the placement of transformer in their area but they do not care for it after installation.”

     

    Source : Republica