Decided on February 11,2010

Pb State Electricity Board Appellant


- (1.)THIS is an appeal filed by P.S.E.B.(in short the appellant ) against the order dated 9.6.2005 of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Sangrur (in short the District Forum ) by which the complaint of the respondent was partly allowed by the District Forum.
(2.)BRIEF facts of the case are that the respondent was having electric connection No. SP 16/0251 in his premises with sanctioned load of 5.75 KW. Respondent informed the appellant vide application (Ex. C -11) that his meter was burnt in the month of June, 2004. An official of the appellant replaced the meter on 30.6.2004. The reading of the meter was recorded on 7.6.2004 which was 15717 units. Replaced old meter was tested/analyzed in the M.E. Lab. on 27.7.2004 in the presence of Raj Singh, representative of the respondent, who signed the report. Respondent had deposited Rs. 1,500 as costs of new meter. Appellant issued notice/memo (Ex. R -2) dated 28.7.2004 to the respondent by which the demand of Rs. 2,38,623 was raised alleging that when the meter was opened in the M.E. Lab, the reading of the meter was found as 87001 units. The respondent had paid only the bill of 15717 units. The amount of Rs. 2,38,623 was raised as difference of reading of 87001 units found in the M.E. Lab. at the time of testing of the meter minus 15717 units, which was paid by the respondent. Respondent pleaded that this electric connection was installed for tubewell connection so it was not possible for him to consume 71287 units of electricity from 7.6.2004 to 30.6.2004 as the electricity supply in the rural area was not frequent. The allegation of the respondent was that the reading of 87001 units was found during checking of the meter in the M.E. Lab. was not correct. He requested the appellant to withdraw the demand but of no result. Respondent prayed that the appellant may please be directed to withdraw the demand of Rs. 2,38,623 raised vide notice dated 28.7.2004 and also demanded refund of Rs. 1,500 deposited as cost of new meter. He had also demanded Rs. 20,000 as compensation and Rs. 5,000 as litigation expenses.
(3.)THE appellant replied by taking preliminary objections that the respondent had obtained electric connection for industrial purposes, respondent had earned profit with the help of said SP connection and employed many workers, as such, he does not fall under the definition of consumer as per Consumer Protection Act, 1986 , complaint was not maintainable as the respondent had not approached the Disputes Settlement Committee for adjudication of the controversy. It was admitted that due to burning of the meter of the respondent, MCO was issued on 30.6.2004 and replaced on the same day and the body of the meter was melted and the reading of the meter was not visible through the glass fitted on the meter. New meter was installed but the respondent had refused to sign the MCO. Old meter was packed and sealed in a card board box as per rules in the presence of the respondent. Notice dated 26.7.2004 was served to come present before the M.E. Lab. Raj Singh representative of the respondent attended the M.E. Lab, Sangrur on 27.7.2004 and the meter was checked in his presence. On checking, reading of the meter was found as 87001 and the same was shown to the representative of the respondent. He admitted the same as correct and signed in English on the report of the M.E. Lab. Jarnail Singh, AAE was also present at that time, who also signed the report. On the basis of the M.E. Lab. report, notice dated 28.7.2004 for a sum of Rs. 2,38,623 was issued to the respondent on account of difference of units of electricity consumed by him and the bill already paid by him. It was pleaded that the demand was rightly raised and prayed for the dismissal of the complaint. Learned District Forum after hearing the learned Counsel for the parties and going through the record, partly allowed the complaint and the appellant was directed:
"(a) To refund to the complainant the amount of Rs. 1,500 deposited by the complainant on account of the cost of meter. (b) To withdraw the disputed demand of a sum of Rs. 2,38,623 raised vide memo dated 28.7.2004 Ex. R -2 and to pay him a sum of Rs. 1,000 as litigation expenses. It will be open to the opposite parties to raise fresh demand on account of the cost of meter and for the consumption of electricity for the period 7.6.2004 to 30.6.2004 after following the prescribed procedure."

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