Decided on July 01,2014



- (1.)THE complainant is aggrieved by the electricity bill dated 9.7.2013 by which the complainant had been directed to deposit a sum of Rs. 77,29,520.52 as arrears of the relevant period. It has been submitted by the Counsel for the complainant that the complainant is a manufacturing factory of craft paper. Originally they had a power connection of 600 K.V. and subsequently the load was increased to 900 H.P. on 22.11.2011. It has further been submitted that as per norms and regulations of the respondent Corporation, the meter should have been checked by the officers of the Corporation regularly after every six month, however, in the present case in spite of repeated requests and representations made no inspection was made. Ultimately the first joint inspection was made on 31.10.2012 however, due to some technical difficulties, the same could not be completed. Subsequently another joint inspection was made on 17.5.2013 and it was found that in three phase connection, the meter of phase 'B' was not showing any reading and on further mechanical check up it was found that the meter of phase 'B' was showing 33% less reading thus on the basis of the inspection report the impugned bill had been sent to the complainant for payment of arrears of the relevant time. The learned Counsel for the respondent submitted that it was only on the basis of inspection report, since the meter was defective and running slow and not showing proper reading, the bill was accordingly sent to the complainant. After hearing the Counsel for the parties we have carefully gone through the material available on record.
(2.)EVEN as per reply filed by the respondent Corporation the meter was defective and not showing proper reading of phase 'B'. There is no allegation whatsoever that any tempering was made by the complainant in the meter or the power supply line resulting in some defect in the meter. Meaning thereby the meter installed by the respondent Corporation was defective showing improper reading. Since no allegation of tempering the meter or the power line had been made against the complainant the bill sent by the Corporation to the complainant only on the basis of inspection report is neither legal nor justified. Even as per regulations of the respondent Corporation, after new meter been installed or meter been repaired, the consumption bill for arrears for the period in dispute could have been sent only on the basis of average of subsequent six months after installing the new meter or replacing the defective meter and that also only for six months. In the present case the respondents had installed the new meter of phase 'B' connection as well on 17.5.2013 only. As such the bill for the disputed period could have been sent only on the basis of average of six months after 17.5.2013.
(3.)WE may also point out that there has been large number of complaints before us in regard to defective meter been installed by the Corporation and ultimately the consumer has to suffer by making payment on the higher rate. It is only when the complaint is made before the proper Forum, the necessary corrections are made by the Corporation however, no responsibility whatsoever has been fixed on the concerning officers who were responsible for purchasing the defective meters or even installing the same at the place of consumer. In the present case in spite of standing instructions and regulations concerned meter was not checked regularly after every six months and further the impugned bill had been sent without any basis in violation of the regulations itself and the complainant had to approach the Commission for redressal of his grievances. In view of gross deficiency of services provided by the Corporation the complainant is entitled for adequate compensation for mental agony and other expenses. Accordingly, the complaint is allowed. The impugned bill dated 9.7.2013 for Rs. 77,29,520.52 is quashed and set aside. However, the respondents may now send a fresh bill for the disputed period after taking average of six months subsequent to 17.5.2013. Even as per regulations the arrears can also be recovered only for maximum of six months, the fresh billing amount be calculated accordingly. The complainant is expected to make the payment as per fresh bill. In the facts and circumstances of the present case as also in the interest of justice the respondents shall also pay a sum of Rs. 50,000 (fifty thousand) to the complainant for mental agony and other expenses. It is further clarified that the amount deposited by the complainant as per interim order passed by us may be adjusted in the amount in the fresh bill and in case the same is less than the amount already deposited, the same may be adjusted in the future bills. The compliance may now be made within thirty days.

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