PHUKET: The owner of a small shophouse in Vichit was shocked to get an electricity bill for almost half a million baht this week.
Boonlert NokBanjong, 48, who has never paid more than 2,000 baht a month to power his single-storey shophouse, was stunned when his bill for March arrived demanding 468,182.82 baht.
“I only use one air conditioner,” complained Mr Boonlert, who operates a small workshop from the shophouse.
“I was speechless. I didn’t know what to do.”
After a friend of Mr Boonlert’s helped out by alerting the Phuket Electricity Authority (PEA) to the nearly half-million baht bill, PEA inspectors visited the shophouse to determine the cause of the extortionate bill.
“The bill was a mistake and we deeply regret the stress caused to Mr Boonlert,” said PEA accounts supervisor Chonnasorn Chetawan.
“We recently installed a new electricity meter at Mr Boonlert’s property because the old one was playing up. Although the meter is new, the old wires have not been changed yet,” he said.
The PEA accounts chief said the mistake most likely occurred when the latest meter reading was taken.
“The wrong reference number was used so there was a mix up with the meter reading. It’s not Mr Boonlert’s fault. A new bill has been issued already and he only has to pay that one,” he said.
Mr Boonlert’s revised bill was 800 baht.
Mr Chonnasorn promised to improve the meter reading system to avoid similar issues in future.
“It’s lucky he doesn’t have a heart condition. The shock could have killed him,” he admitted.
— Kritsada Mueanhawong
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