Nagpur: The electricity bill collecting agency, SNDL, whose earlier name was SPANCO, is acting tyrannically in terms of collecting exorbitant amount of electricity charges, oath-takingly in 4 to 5 figures, instead of its usual 3-figured amount. The common man is crushed under burden of electricity charges, for which deliberately installed fast-running meters are responsible, or say, SNDL is responsible. God save citizens!
The tyranny of SNDL is seen in the attitude it exhibits towards citizens/ consumers. Its senior officials do not act responsibly with customer-satisfaction service, not exhibiting even a by-mistake tinge of humility or social courtesy. They behave as if they are at the giving end and the consumers are at receiving end. They even do not bother about any instructions issued by Energy Minister, heading their department. Should it not be termed ‘height of insubordination’? There are two persons, deputed in the SNDL office as the watch-dogs, PRO Dipanshu and Ameya, who never allow the consumers/ complainants to submit their grievances before SNDL for redressal.
It was 24th of August, 2015, when SNDL men collected reportedly defective (fast running) meters of more than two dozen consumers/ complainants by making them pay Rs 150 each as testing charge in advance. All such meters were brought to SNDL testing lab, Tulsibagh. The consumers who wanted to get their meters tested were called to the testing lab in two different timings, 10 am and 2 pm. Certain consumers reached the SNDL lab at 10 am, and to their surprise the SNDL office staff was missing from the office. They somehow returned to their seats after some time and started searching the defective meters in the lot of hundreds of meters retained in a sack.
The searching spree took 3-4 hours, and by that time the consumers/ complainants called at 2 pm arrived at the SNDL lab. The meter search again took painstakingly certain hours, and it struck 4 pm. At about 4.15, the defective meters (about 24-25) were found out and put into the checking system. Only one of the tested meters was found running little faster, and then remaining consumers went back home. According to an official, the meter testing system of SNDL is such that fault in the meter can rarely be detected. However, the SNDL makes money to the tune of Rs 1.5 to 2 lakh or even more per day in the name of meter testing.
Arbitrary attitude of Dipanshu and Ameya
Functioning as PRO of SNDL, Dipanshu Khirvadkar and Ameya Pathak behave with customers/ consumers arbitrarily and never have regards for consumers, and they would explain to the complainants as if they were experts in the functioning of the meters. They would illogically opine that other equipment at home are responsible for meter running high, and they would never allow complainants to talk to higher officials, and drive them away. Their such behaviour is a gross violation of service attitude of SNDL which Dipanshu and Ameya unfortunately represent. If the complainant happens to be some special person, he is given gold or silver coin just to keep quiet and pacified, or in place of such tactics, he is offered sumptuous party of drinks and feast. In the case of inspection-visit by senior officials of SNDL from Delhi, these PROs would put simple and uncomplaining consumers before them for formality sake, while those consumers who are outspoken or angry-men are sided away from those officials.
These PROs forbid linemen from disclosing right information to the consumers, and also threaten them of losing the job if they ever told the consumers about fault in meter. SNDL director Vishal Sharma is in the city on inspection-visit, but these PROs got only those consumers meet the director, who are fake appreciators of SNDL.
SNDL possesses meters with different reading-counts
According to SNDL sources, the meters possessed by SNDL are the ‘makes’ of 3-4 different companies, and company-wise their functioning of recording readings are also different. A consumer who is well off to pay heavy bills, he gets high running meter. but one who is an angry-man he gets slow running meter either at his home or office. The SNDL always claims that its all meters are in good working condition.
Thousands of consumers paying only Rs 30 monthly bill
There are thousands of consumers who are paying only Rs 30 monthly bill for electricity consumption, and such consumers’ meters are never checked. As gathered from such consumers, their monthly electricity consumption bill does not exceed Rs 30 to 40. If such cases are sometimes detected, the SNDL would charge average bills ranging from Rs 3,000 to 5,000 and ask the consumer to pay. If he fails to pay such average bill within 24 hours, he will face disconnection. The SNDL call-centre is almost dead or all-time engaged. It always tells one…”You are in Queue.”
Another thing that surprises one and all is from whomsoever the SNDL has made additional recovery of bills it has not adjusted the additionally recovered amount in the regular bills of consumers, for it never admits its fault. Even if Guardian Minister and Energy Minister directs SNDL it turns deaf ear over the ministerial words. Sources on the condition of anonymity said, SNDL has managed the Energy Minister.