The District Consumer Forum has ordered the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) to pay Rs 5,000 compensation to a senior citizen in an inflated power bill issue.
The forum also directed MSEDCL to install a service meter. MSEDCL has been told to issue revised bills for the disputed period from July 2012 till February 2015 and onwards after considering the average consumption for six months.
The complainant, Captain (Retired) Udik Chand Arora, a resident of NIBM Road moved the forum in 2016 as he was getting average bills for 500 units per month and MSEDCL was asking him to pay Rs 82,607. He received inflated bills after installation of a new meter, which was installed without his consent.
Capt Arora obtained the electricity connection in 2006. He has a refrigerator, a TV set, two fans, four LED lights, three CFL lights, one inverter, one washing machine and one air-conditioner. Since 2006, power consumption was never over 200 units per month. In April 2012, MSEDCL started issuing bills of higher amounts.
After he lodged a complaint, MSEDCL agreed to adjust the bill amount for August 2012 onwards till March 2013. He received Rs 169 bill and paid it. It was further communicated that excess amount will be adjusted in the next seven to eight months. However, the complainant received bills showing consumption of 359 to 673 units in the following months. The consumer grievance redressal forum of MSEDCL observed that CPL record was not correct due to wrong feeding of the meter number. Bills of zero consumption and the faulty status were issued from July 2012 to February 2015 for a period of 32 months.
The complainant stated that it was not his fault. However, the MSEDCL forum directed him to pay a bill for Rs 82,607. Hence, he approached the electricity ombudsman, who too directed him to pay the bill for 24 months. He then approached the Consumer Forum.
MSEDCL requested the forum to dismiss the case on the ground that the complainant had already availed the remedy available under the Electricity Act, 2003. However, a bench of Consumer Forum President VP Utpat and Members Onkar Patil and Kshitija Kulkarni held that MSEDCL was deficient in service by issuing incorrect bills.