CERS Wins Second Case Against Power Distribution Company
April 26, 2006
Consumer Education and Research Society (CERS), Ahmedabad, and Mahesh Kumar Parmar, a self-employed, electricity consumer of Dhandhuka, won a case against the Gujarat Vij Company Limited (UGVCL) in the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Ahmedabad (Rural). The Forum criticised the divisional office of the UGVCL for negligence and harassment caused to the consumer.
Mr. Mahesh Kumar Parmar, Dhandhuka, earns his livelihood on a sweet and ‘farsan’ shop. The UGVCL staff visited his shop on 5 November 2004 for changing the old meter with a new electronic one. All the seals of the meter were found intact when the old meter was ‘box sealed’ in Mahesh’s presence.
The old meter was also tested in his presence on 17 January 2005 at the UGVCL Meter Testing Laboratory, Dhandhuka. While all the seals of the meter were found normal, its glass was loose and shards were found inside.
Mr. K. J. Patel, a junior engineer, charged Mahesh with theft of electricity, compelled him to sign the check-sheet and issued a supplementary bill for Rs.74,430 for the alleged theft.
The Forum, in its order, questioned why the meter had been tested after over two months. Besides, the UGVCL had not taken care of protecting the meter during its transport and storage. As the seals of the meter were intact, the consumer could not be at fault. The Forum directed the UGVCL to cancel the supplementary bill of Rs. 74,430, pay Rs. 2,000 to the consumer for mental agony and torture, and Rs. 1000 as costs.
The Forum also criticised the UGVCL for having issued a supplementary bill without conviction for theft.
Mr. K. K. Bajaj, Director (Representations), CERS, provided for technical guidance for the case. Mr. H. P. Motiramani, Advocate, appeared for the complainants, and Mr. M. K. Thakore, Advocate, for the opposite party. The Forum consisted of Mr. P. U. Rana, President, and Ms Nandini Thakar and Ms Jyoti Jani, Members.