Estimated billing

Premila Kumar,Ceo, Consumer Council Of Fiji | Wednesday, June 7, 2017

WE refer to Elimi Marawa's letter on Estimated Bill published in The Fiji Times on June 1, 2017, and Karunesh Rao's response dated June 3, 2017, titled Bill reading.

The council notes that the issue raised by Elimi Marawa regarding bill estimates still remains unanswered by FEA.

In their response FEA has only stated that the bill for the period March-April was unpaid by the consumer, hence it accumulated in the bill for April-May period.

Estimated billing has nothing to do with unpaid bills.

Even an unpaid bill can be an estimated bill or meter read bill.

The question here is whether the meter was read by FEA staff.

Consumers can find out from their bill by looking at "reading type".

If it states "normal reading", it simply means the meter was read, but if it states estimated then the meter was not read.

The council has persistently raised the issue of estimated billing to consumers which is unfair and unreasonable.

The estimation system disrupts household budgets.

In addition, consumers are often unprepared for the exorbitant increase in their bills when a 'normal' reading is finally carried out by FEA.

Under the Electricity Act Cap. 180, FEA has been vested with powers to calculate the average consumption for the period the meter is not correctly recording consumption.

However, with the Electricity Act 2017 being passed in Parliament (yet to come into effect), the onus is now on the regulator to look into billing issues faced by consumers which includes estimated billing among other pertinent issues.

Appropriate regulations must be made to ensure consumer grievances are taken into consideration for a fair marketplace.

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