Up This Summer: BMC To Give Digital Water Bills; Delhi To Compensate People For Power Outage
Remember the times when there used to be power cuts in the middle of the night and all the people of the colony would head to the electricity office to know the status? Every time, the response from the official would be, “We don’t know”.
However, with time things have changed. Making a visit to every office, electricity, water and telephone when paying bills or when the services are unavailable, is a thing of passe. With better services and bill payments going online, people in some of the major cities of the country now breathe a sigh of relief as they have easy access to the basic needs.
Online payment takes the lead
Every utility corporation in the country is now tying up with various private payment gateways or creating a payment website of their own to make it easy for citizens and for themselves, too.
According to a recent data released, the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) witnessed a 165 per cent rise in transaction volumes for March 2018 month-on-month and a growth of 75 per cent year-on-year. The platform, conceived by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has over 75 utility brands on board and plans to take this number to 96. These include billers such as electricity, telecom and direct-to-home TV companies
These numbers show how quickly citizens are adopting the online payment methods when offered. For the billers, going online helps, too. It brings down the instances of inflated bills with efficient software that ensure correct reading of the metres and generating bills accordingly. Moreover, this also brings down the manpower authorities have to hire for this task.
A recent instance is that of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The municipal authority is reportedly developing a software that will digitally calculate the metre reading and generate the bill accordingly. This move is expected to put a stop to inflated water bills for the residents. These bills will instantly be delivered on the registered mobile number and email id of the residents.
The BMC plans to link this method to online bill payment platforms, including Paytm. Such a system is already available to Delhi residents.
Another example is of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board that tied up with private online payment platform Mobikwik for bill payment.
How does this help?
- The move ensures transparency and boosts revenue by ensuring timely payment.
- It will bring down the effort of the BMC employees visiting homes for meter reading. In several cases, multiple visits if homeowners are not available could also be avoided.
- It eliminates room for errors. An employee feeding in the metre numbers can have a mistake and hence, a wrong bill can be generated.
- Quick delivery of bill through SMS or email.
Not just online payment, utility providers are now taking other steps to make it a pro-consumer market.
Compensation for citizens
If you are a Delhiite, this news is for you. Soon you might be compensated for every unscheduled power cut you face. While there will be no compensation for the first hour of the power cut, for the next hour, the discoms will have to pay Rs 50 per hour and from there on, the rate would go up to Rs 100 per hour. This compensation will be adjusted in the monthly bill.
The policy, at present, awaits Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal approval.
However, if you are not compensated, you could file a complaint with the electricity regulator, Delhi Electricity Regulatory Authority (DERC). In such a scenario the discom will be fined Rs 5,000 or five times the compensation it had to pay, whichever is higher.