He rushed to the nearby Tangedco Assistant Engineer’s office in Tirumullaivoyal. He was sent back citing network failure in Avadi division of Tangedco. He visited the office the very next day to see a long queue of customers waiting to pay the bill on the last day. But all of them were sent back again because ‘the server suddenly slowed down’ with each bill taking a long time to be processed.
The Tangedco staff at the counter asked him to visit a nearby internet cafe to pay the bill.
The TNEB website failed to ‘recognise’ his consumer number and hence he could not sign in and pay the bill online. He visited the office again on Monday, after the Sunday holiday. The excuse given to him then was that the office could only process bills generated there. Sekar was asked to go to the Thamarai Nagar office. But the staff at Thamarai Nagar told him that their modem was defective and payment was not possible.
When he finally managed to pay the bill on Tuesday, he ended up paying a fine of Rs 62. Sekar is just one victim of TNEB’s apathy and callousness. The residents of Tirumullaivoyal, Annanur and nearby areas were made to pay a penalty depending on the bill amount for no fault of theirs. When they confronted the staff and raised the issue of a technical glitch at the Tangedco end, the personnel said the bills were computer generated and they could do little about it.
“They went on to ask why I did not pay the bill earlier and waited till the last day. The fine amount alone collected in Avadi division will run into lakhs of rupees. I do not understand why they have something called a grace period of 20 days. Nobody wants to wait till the last day purposely to pay the bill. Neither they can cheat the Tangedco by not paying. When every single window is shut for customers, what else can we do? Instead of admitting the failure at their end, the staff members are questioning our delay. They are not even apologetic about their fault,” Sekar says. When contacted, Tangedco’s Assistant Engineer for Tirumullaivoyal admitted that they had issues with their internet connection and in securing access to their server. He said the offices concerned had been instructed to collect limited bills with intranet facility. He said connection failure persisted in the past few months whenever there was rain.
Sources said that BSNL provided the internet and internet facilities to Tangedco. Only two technicians had been allocated to fix network failures in the entire Avadi division. “But they do not visit the spot immediately if a complaint is registered. This puts both Tangedco staff and the customers to a lot of difficulties. Also, the technicians fix the issue in the short and the problems crop up in a day or two,” sources said.
He said the Tangedco staff too faced a lot of issues due to a server malfunction. They said frequent network failures meant piling up of work as the entire function was computerised and linked to a central server. Tangedco staff at Avadi division said higher officials should take stock of the situation and come up with a permanent solution.
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