Hundreds of people from six villages in Gojra took out a protest rally on Friday after Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco) disconnected electricity supply to the villages on Wednesday for non-payment of bills.
The villagers blocked Jhang Road for several hours and alleged that the Fesco had given them inflated bills and disconnected their electricity connections in disregard of their complaints.
Ghulam Fareed, a resident of Nangay village, told The Express Tribune, “I used to pay an average electricity bill for Rs650 per month. The bill never exceeded Rs980. However, this month, Fesco authorities issued an electricity bill of Rs2,669.”
Sher Mohammad, another villager, said, “Fesco employees spent the last month protesting. They never took a reading of energy metres and estimated our bills.”
“We went to various Fesco offices and made a number of complaints to Fesco authorities requesting them to correct our electricity bills but they did not,” Mohammad Azam said.
“They have threatened us with severing our electricity connections if we don’t pay the inflated bills,” Mohammad Azam said.
“We are daily wage earners and cannot pay the excessive bills,” he said. Fesco Nawan Lahore subdivision restored electricity supply to the villages after which the protest was called off. Fesco Public Relations Deputy Director Public Relations Tahir Shaikh said that the villagers were defaulters and had been given three oppurtunities for paying their bills.
“After the bills were not paid, we cut several connections,” he said. He said that Fesco authorities will check the bills and revise any inflated bills. The villagers have made a commitment that they will pay their outstanding bills in installments, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2012.
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