… it says scheduled meter reading is carried out during the lockdown

Dechen Dolkar    

During the lockdown last winter, Bhutan Power Corporation Limited (BPC) shocked residents in Thimphu with large amounts in their electricity bills which resulted in a huge public outcry.

That will not be an issue during this lockdown, BPC Chief Executive Officer Sonam Tobjey said.

“To avoid an incident like last year, this year we have initiated the scheduled meter reading for actual calculation of the bill,” he said.

During the previous lockdown, BPC had calculated the billing on an average for three months which resulted in a high amount of billing for most of the people in Thimphu.

This time, he said that their field staff were working in containment mode under strict Covid-19 protocols for scheduled meter reading during the lockdown. “All efforts are made to provide reliable power supply and timely meter reading and billing.”

However, BPC is not handing over the printed bills to the customers. The bills are placed near the respective meter boxes and customers have to collect them after the lockdown is lifted.

If a bill is misplaced, customers can get a duplicate copy from the BPC electricity services division office after office resumes. The bills can be accessed online on the BPC website.

Sonam Tobjey said that in the areas under the red zone, BPC has initiated meter reading through WhatsApp.

BPC has also shared the number of the focal person for respective dzongkhags for meter reading and billing.

He said that customers were asked to take a photograph of the meter reading and send it along with their consumer number to the officials mentioned against dzongkhags.

“We validate the reading received, prepare bills, and deliver individually to the WhatsApp accounts,” the CEO said.

The CEO said that so far many people have responded to WhatsApp, and billing is as per the schedule.

Customers are asked to pay the bills through online payment options such as mobile banking apps and BPC applications.