The High Court has ordered the power distribution companies to adjust the unusual electric bills of customers – charged during the coronavirus period – by checking the actual meter readings as per the directives of the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) in July.
The court has also ordered them to submit a report to the court within the next two months after adjustment of the bills.
Simultaneously, the High Court (HC), has issued a rule to the concerned authorities asking why action will not be taken against the power distribution companies for collecting the unusual electricity bills.
The court asked the secretary of the power division, chairman of the energy regulatory commission, chairman of the rural electrification board, Dhaka Power Distribution Company (DPDC), and Dhaka Electric Supply Company Ltd (DESCO) to respond to the rule within four weeks.
An HC bench of Justice Mohammad Mujibur Rahman Miah and Justice Mohiuddin Shamim passed the order on Monday.
Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua stood for the petitioner at the hearing.
He said that as of June 2020, the existing power distribution companies have collected unusual bills from customers without actual meter readings.
"In June, the Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) sent a letter to the BERC in this regard to suspend the collection of unusual electricity bills. But they did not pay heed to the letter," he said.
Later, another letter was sent in July for electricity bill adjustment. But the BERC said they would not adjust the electricity bill in response to the consumer association's demands, said the lawyer.
On 5 October, Mobassher Hossain, convener of CAB, filed a writ petition at the HC demanding adjustment of inflated bills of customers.
On 23 August, a legal notice was sent to the government to stop the collection of electricity bills which were prepared without meter readings.
Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua sent the notice on behalf of Mobasher Hossain.