ELECTRICITY SUPPLY IN INDIA
After the Indian Electricity act 2003, electricity is privatized in the country since then. There are different provisions for billings with regards to supply of electricity for various purposes such as domestic, commercial, agricultural and industrial. Penalty for non-payment of such bills are also different from one another. There are different slabs for billing depending upon the consumption of electricity units. Also there are very harsh provisions for theft and un-authorized abstraction of electricity through direct source.
SPECIAL COURTS FOR COMPLAINTS
The electricity department had set up their own special courts. It was argued time and again before the various courts that their new laws and provisions for billing are very technical in nature and hence department be left free for redressal of the grievances of customers. The electricity department urged before the apex court that consumer courts should not be vested with the power to deal with electricity matters. The Hon’ble supreme court finally settled the pending issue with a landmark judgement in the matter of U.P. Power Corporation Ltd. And others V/s Anis Ahmad and others along with eight more cases of similar nature with the view that consumer forum can also hear electricity matters as an additional remedy available to consumers.
The consumer can now go for redressal of following grievances before the consumer forum as well as special electricity courts;
- Non-supply of electricity meter when applied
- Wrong and disproportionate bills
- Very old bills without notice
- Bills for others’ connection
- Disconnection without notice and without reason
- Bill without meter reading
- Bill for defective/burnt meter
- Bill without consumption
However theft and un-authorized abstraction of electricity matters can be decided by the special courts established under the Indian electricity act only.
A recent case against Punjab State Power Corporation Limited is decided by the consumer forum, facts of the case are:-
- The complaint, Davinder Kumar, 63, a resident of Khurla Kingra-Mithapur Road, Jalandhar, had approached the district consumer disputes redressal forum on November 26, 2018.
- According to the complaint, the Punjab State Corporation Limited (PSPCL) had issued a bill of 4,63,920, which showed a consumption of 81,708 units between May 15,2018 and September 10,2018.
- The bill was supposed to be paid before September 25.
- The complaint then took up the matter with the Model Town commercial sub divisional officer.
- However, despite repeated visits the PSPCL did not correct the reading and the next bill sent on November 14, for September 10,2018 to November 14,2018, showed the previous reading as 81,708
- The current reading and amount had been deducted and the complaint was asked to pay 4.77 lakhs on November 29.
- The district consumer disputes redressal forum held that the PSPCL had caused mental agony and physical harassment to the complainant.
- The Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) and Punjab State Power Corporation (PSPCL) were directed to pay Rs. 30,000 compensation, including Rs. 5,000 as litigation expenses.
- The forum also directed them to refund Rs. 1,39,180, which had already been deposited with 12% interest.
This post is written by Dipti Prakash of Punjab University. For more info on subject, please dial 99888-17966.