Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Huge bill discrepancies forces EAC to issue advice to consumers (Updated)

By Jonathan Shkurko and Elias Hazou

Amid heightened concern among the public over costly energy, the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) on Thursday issued advice to consumers on what to do regarding possible discrepancies between their meter reading and their electricity bills.

The announcement followed reports in the media that some households had received unjustifiably high bills, apparently due to mistaken estimates of consumption, with the EAC stressing that any errors will be corrected.

The EAC attributed the discrepancy to teething issues with the new metering system called MDMS (Meter Data Management System).

But that was little consolation to consumers receiving staggeringly high electricity bills.

In one case, described by daily Phileleftheros, a couple had received a €200 invoice from the EAC during the previous batch of bills sent out. They checked the meter in their residence, finding that the consumption was lower than that indicated on the bill. Despite this, they paid the amount in full. The couple finally got through to a customer service representative at the EAC, who said the error would be corrected in the next bill.

But the same thing happened with the next invoice – this time it was €920. The couple said they started calling the EAC to complain, but couldn’t get anyone on the line for 10 straight days. Exasperated, they decided to personally visit the EAC offices.

There, they saw a long queue of people waiting to sort out the same problem. In the end, the couple got the EAC to adjust the bill to €420 – reflecting the actual consumption.

EAC spokesperson Christina Papadopoulou said they were aware of the issues with the MDMS system, and were trying to fix them.

The issue appears to be that in many cases – but not all – the billing system comes up with an estimate of consumption, based on previous consumption patterns, rather than the actual kilowatt-hour usage.

Papadopoulou said that in such cases, the necessary down-adjustment will be made in future electricity bills. However this is no consolation to people who cannot afford to pay the higher amounts immediately and risk being cut off for non-payment.

Demetris Nathanael, deputy spokesman for the EAC, told a local newspaper that it’s their policy not to cut off electricity if a customer doesn’t pay on time. This policy applies to small amounts – which Nathanael deliberately did not define.

If a consumer does not pay the bill within 21 days of its issue, they will receive a notice. The consumer then has another six days to settle. If not, they will receive an SMS notifying them that the power will be cut.

On Thursday, the EAC issued a written announcement urged people affected by the issue to get in touch via email, Viber or WhatsApp, following specific instructions.

The contacts provided are the following:

Nicosia:
email address [email protected] / Viber and Whatsapp contact 99608754

Limassol:
email address [email protected] / Viber and Whatsapp contact 99668321

Larnaca:
email address [email protected] / Viber and Whatsapp contact 99681190

Paphos:
email address [email protected] / Viber and Whatsapp contact 99205394

Famagusta:
email address [email protected] / Viber and Whatsapp contact 99681190

Via email:

Send an email to the district’s corresponding address, indicating the customer’s name appearing on the bill and the contact number

Write down the meter reading ignoring the decimal digits at the end and meter number. (e.g. reading number: 071062)

Via Viber:

Send a picture of the meter showing the consumption reading and meter number

Indicate the customer’s name appearing on the bill and the contact number

Via Whatsapp:

Send a picture of the meter showing the consumption reading and meter number

Indicate the customer’s name appearing on the bill and the contact number

 

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