OSWAL WOOLEN MILLS LTD Vs. PUNJAB STATE ELECTRICITY BOARD
LAWS(SC)-2006-4-106
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on April 28,2006

OSWAL WOOLEN MILLS LTD. Appellant
VERSUS
PUNJAB STATE ELECTRICITY BOARD Respondents


Cited Judgements :-

MAHARASHTRA STATE ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION COMPANY LIMITED VS. SURYALAXMI COTTON MILLS LTD [LAWS(BOM)-2009-12-1] [REFERRED TO]
GUJARAT ELECTRICITY BOARD VS. RELIANCE INDUSTRIES LTD [LAWS(GJH)-2022-3-1780] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

- (1.)Leave granted.
(2.)The appellant is a mill represented by its authorized representative. For the purpose of its working, it at all material times was and still is a consumer of electrical energy. It had for the said purpose taken electrical connection from the respondent-Board. The connected load is 6664 KW. In terms of the tariff framed by the Board, the Appellant herein (Company) comes under the category of 'general industry'. The Board on or about 21.01.1991 issued a circular whereby it proposed to levy surcharge @ 17 1/2% on the actual consumption of electricity in respect of those industrial consumers who had been sanctioned load exceeding 5000 KW or sanctioned contract demand exceeding 5000 KVA and had supply from a 11 KV line. The said circular stipulated that surcharge would continue to be levied till conversion of supply to 33 KV or higher voltage by the consumers. It is, however, not in dispute that a letter was issued to the company intimating that for installation of 66 KV Sub Station, a site plan was required to be supplied.
Yet again by circular dated 03.05.1991, it was stipulated : Continuation to CC No. 5/91 dt. 21.1.91 vide which it was decided to levy surcharge @ 17% on general industrial consumers having sanctioned load/demand exceeding 5000 KW/KVA and running at 11 KV till conversion of supply to 33 KV or higher voltage. The matter has been reconsidered by the Board and it has been decided that the surcharge @ 17 1/2% shall be levied on such consumers who do not switch over their supply system to 33 KV and higher voltage in line with the following provisions : i) A lead time of 12 months may be given to all the existing consumers having load/demand above 5000 KW/KVA and running at 11 KV to convert supply to higher voltage within stipulated period. This period includes the time spent on getting estimated cost of works, deposit of charges with the PSEB and erection of 33 KV or higher voltage works by the consumer as well as by the PSEB . The time schedule for different activities involved for erection/completion of higher voltage works shall be fixed by the load sanctioning authority, and any slippage/evasion in adhering to the laid down targets on the part of the consumer shall attract levy of surcharge @ 17 1/2%. In case after the stipulated period, the higher voltage works of the consumers are ready but the works of the PSEB are not ready, surcharge shall not be levied and also likewise if the Board's works of higher voltage are ready but the consumers are not ready this surcharge shall be leviable The validity of the said circular dated 21.01.1991 came to be questioned by the company in a writ petition, filed before the High Court, which was marked as CWP No. 7069 of 1991. In the meanwhile, the said circular letter was modified by the Board, in terms whereof it was stipulated that a time of 12 months extendable upto the maximum of 18 months was to be granted to all the existing consumers having load above 5000 KW/KVA and running at 11 KV to convert supply system to higher voltage.

(3.)Another letter dated 19.09.1991 was issued by the Board intimating it that electric supply had to be converted to 66 KV and hence the company was required to show the place of installation of 66 KV sub-station, failing which a penalty @ 17 1/2% would be levied. A further letter was issued by the Board demanding a sum of Rs. 34 lacs towards the tentative cost of conversion. The writ petition filed by the company, however, was disposed of stating:
...In the short reply filed on behalf of the Electricity Board, it is stated that from the petitioners 17 1/2% surcharge collected will be adjusted in the subsequent bills. It is further mentioned that there would be conversion from 11 KV to 33 KV or 66 KV. Certain formalities are to be observed by both the parties in that connection and one year's time has been given to the petitioners to comply with the directions. However, it is made clear that the period of one year would start from the pointing out of feasible point for installation of sub station at the factory premises by the Board.

[Underlining is ours for emphasis]



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