Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) is exploring options for other billing systems after receiving complaints from people over high electricity bills.

Even after reissuing the electricity bills for January and February, residents of Thimphu and Paro still feel they were overcharged for energy consumption.

BPC’s chief executive officer, Sonam Tobjey, said: “BPC is exploring other options of billing. The options we have are taking the energy consumption of the similar months from previous years or read the meter after the lockdown.”

The bills were reissued following doubts raised over the average billing system implemented during the second nationwide lockdown to calculate the monthly electricity bills.

The average billing system calculated the bill of consumers for the month during the lockdown by taking an average of the previous three months.

Some residents received bills of Nu 7,000 when they normally paid Nu 500 to Nu 1,000 in other months.  Some got bills around Nu 30,000 in a month.

Sonam Tobjey said that the bills were reissued to give block tariff advantage to the consumers.

He said that the billing for February would take the actual energy consumption from the last reading until the opening of the second nationwide lockdown.

Households that did not get the block tariff advantage because of the average billing were given the advantage in the current reading, he said.

Sonam Tobjey said that the payment made in the month of the average billing system was adjusted.

For example, in January, with the average billing system, a household was billed with an energy consumption of 100 units.  When the actual meter reading was done in February, it will show the consumption of two months (January and February).  And if the consumption for two months was 200 units, then the 100 units billed in January was deducted from the February meter reading.

Sonam Tobjey said that, if people had complaints, they could visit the service counters and seek justifications. “We’ll attend to the issues personally for those who are still not convinced.”

Individuals can also avail online services to generate their monthly electricity bills through email or SMS.  BPC also plans to revamp the SMS metre reading to a self-reading system.

BPC received more than 2,500 complaints in the last two months.  About 300 individuals requested their meter to be checked.

Chhimi Dema