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Thread: West Bengal State Electricity Distribution

  1. #1
    adv.singh is offline Senior Member
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    Default West Bengal State Electricity Distribution

    S.C. CASE NO. : FA/09/168



    DATE OF FILING : 05.05.2009 DATE OF FINAL ORDER: 17.11.2009


    APPELLANTS



    West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd.

    Through the Station Manager, Chandrakona Group Electric Supply

    Chandrakona town, W.B.S.E.D.C.L.

    Paschim Mednipur

    Having its corporate office at Vidyut Bhawan

    Bidhannagar

    Kolkata-700 091.



    RESPONDENT



    Mr. Ashoke Manna

    S/o Upendra Nath Manna

    Vill. Jadavpur,

    Post Banka, P.S. Chandrakona

    District Paschim Mednipur.



    BEFORE : MEMBER : MR. P.K.CHATTOPADHYAY

    MEMBER : MR. S.COARI



    FOR THE PETITIONER / APPELLANT : Mr. P.R.Bakshi, Ld. Advocate

    FOR THE RESPONDENT / O.P.S.: Mr. T.S.Mahapatra, Ld. Advocate


    : O R D E R :


    MR. P.K.CHATTOPADHYAY, LD. MEMBER

    This Appeal arose out of judgement and order dt. 19.2.09 in DCDRF, Paschim Mednipur Complaint Case No. 67/2008 where the complainant Sri Ashoke Manna’s case was that the complainant had a domestic electric service connection when his meter was placed in a room where the meters of three other consumers were also located. Subsequently, on the prayer of the complainant another service connection was provided with the meter located in another room. WBSEDCL, the Ops, sent a consumption bill dt. 2.4.08 for Rs. 1612/- for the consumption period from October’07 to March’08, which when objected to by the complainant was reduced to Rs. 559/-. Not having used power under the said meter the complainant was unwilling to pay the bill when on 20.5.08 the Op’s men dismantled all meters including Meter No. MNP/D1728 and that too in absence of the complainant. The Ops lodged an FIR falsely against the complainant at the local police station. Subsequently the Ops issued a provisional bill for Rs. 14,934/- under section 126 of Electricity Act and on protest by the complainant nothing was done. Accordingly, the complaint seeking direction upon the Ops to cancel the bill dt. 21.5.08 and for awarding cost of litigation.

    The Ops namely WBSEDCL, entered appearance and filed written objection contending inter alia that firstly the second service connection was obtained by the complainant in suppression of the fact that he was already having a service connection in the said premises. On receipt of consumption bill dt. 2.4.08 for previous connection number MNP/D1728 a petition was filed by the complainant dt. 19.4.08 stating inter alia that the previous connection was not used subsequent to installation of new connection. Upon receipt of this an inspection was arranged on 19.5.08 when it was found that the meter of the complainant was lying on the floor with tampering and breaking of seal. In terms of applicable laws and provisions the meters were seized and an FIR was lodged and thereafter a provisional bill under section 126 of Electricity Act, as amended, was issued. Contending that the Ld. District Forum had no jurisdiction to entertain the present case U/S 145 of Electricity Act, 2007, the Ops prayed for dismissal of the complaint with cost.

    The Ld. District Forum after hearing both sides passed its judgement and order as under :-

    “That the OP No. 2 shall cancel the finally assessed bill amounting to Rs. 11,200/- passed under order of final assessment dated 28.6.08 and communication to the complainant-consumer (S.C.No. MNP/D1728 & Consumer No. B043397).

    The complainant shall deposit Rs. 985/- (Rupees nine hundred eighty-four only) in full settlement of bills for the consumption period from 01.07.07 to 19.05.08, if not already paid, within 30 (thirty) days from the date of communication of this order. The OP No. 2 is further directed not to realize any other charges in any form from the complainant-consumer in respect of his old connection (i.e. S.C.No. MNP/D1728 & consumer No. B043397) and on receipt of Rs. 984/- (Ruppes nine hundred eighty four only) from the complainant they shall delete the name of complainant as consumer in respect of the old connection (in dispute) (i.e. S.C.No. MNP/D1728). However, we do not pass any order as to cost.”



    Being aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgement and order of the Ld. Forum below the Appellant namely WBSEDCL, preferred this Appeal reiterating the fact of the case and argued inter alia that the impugned judgement and order was passed without considering the fact and circumstances of the case, so done in gross violation of the statutory law/rules and also principles of natural justice. Arguing that a notice for provisional assessment under Section 126 of Electricity Act 2007 was duly sent subsequent to inspection and assessment and Respondent/Complainant’s objection thereto was heard on 25.6.08 and a reasoned order was passed in terms of provisions of the Act and the Respondent/Complainant cannot take shelter now under Consumer Protection Act challenging this award of final assessment where the only remedy lies for an appeal before the appropriate authority under the provisions of the said Act. Accordingly, the Appellant/OP prayed for setting aside of the impugned judgement and order and for passing such further orders as deemed necessary.

    The Respondent namely Sri Ashoke Manna, entered appearance and stated inter alia that the Appeal is not maintainable and that the final assessment bill sent to the Respondent had no explanation as to on what basis such exorbitant amount was claimed by the Appellant/Complainant. Asserting that the deficiency of service alleged in the complaint specifically comes under the provisions of Consumer Protection Act the Respondent supported the judgement and order of the Ld. Forum below and prayed for dismissal of the Appeal.
    DISCUSSION

    A. Admittedly, the Respondent/Complainant had a dispute on the consumption bill of a power line connection since enjoyed by him and subsequent thereto an inspection was carried out by the service provider when abstraction/tampering/irregularities were detected, since duly processed U/S 126 of Electricity Act 2003, as amended in 2007. Admittedly again, post lodgement of FIR, provisional assessment of outstanding dues in respect of the given power connection was made and conveyed to the Respondent/Complainant on whose objection thereto final assessment of the given outstanding was made and conveyed and any dispute thereafter is required to be referred to the Appropriate Authority, on performance of given requisites as has been laid down in the provisions of law.

    B. The Ld. District Forum below or for that matter, this Commission does not have the technical support to re-examine the assessment made by the service provider, as was done under Sections 126 and 127 of the Electricity Act, nor the Forum under the provisions of Consumer Protection Act has any given authority to do so, as provided under Section 145 of the Electricity Act, 2007. In such regard, we consider the case of the complainant to be a case of offence and penalty under Sections 135(1)(b) and 135(1)(d) and, therefore, we hold that the impugned judgement and order of the Ld. Forum below was wholly erroneous and not sustainable.
    O R D E R

    Hence, it is ORDERED that the Appeal stands allowed on contest without any order as to cost. The impugned judgement and order of the Ld. Forum below is set aside.

  2. #2
    adv.singh is offline Senior Member
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    Default West Bengal State Electricity Distribution

    COMPLAINANT
    Mr. Sanjib Bhattacharya

    S/o Late Debabrata Bhattacharya

    F-7/1, Labony Estate, Salt Lake

    P.S. Bidhannagar North

    Kolkata-700 064

    West Bengal.
    RESPONDENTS

    1. West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd.

    (Previously of West Bengal State Electricity Board)

    Office of the Assistant Engineer and Station Manager

    Bidhannagar Electric Supply

    Sub-Division – 1

    WESEDCL (Previous WBSEB)

    AA-27, Salt Lake City, Sector-1

    P.S. North Bidhannagar

    Kolkata-700 064

    West Bengal.

    2. West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd.

    (Previously of West Bengal State Electricity Board)

    Office of S.E. & Divisional Manager

    WBSEDCL (Previous WBSEB)

    CF-353, Salt Lake City, Sector-1

    P.S. North Bidhannagar

    Kolkata-700 064

    West Bengal.

    BEFORE : MEMBER : MR. P.K.CHATTOPADHYAY

    MEMBER : MR. S.COARI


    FOR THE PETITIONER / APPELLANT : Mr. U.K.Basu, Ld. Advocate

    FOR THE RESPONDENT / O.P.S.: Mr. S.Nayak, Ld. Advocate

    : O R D E R :


    MR. P.K.CHATTOPADHYAY, LD. MEMBER

    This complaint was filed by Mr. Sanjib Bhattacharya stated to be residing at F 7/1, Labony Estate, Salt Lake, P.S. Bidhannagar North, Kolkata-700 064, alleging deficiency of service on part of the Ops namely WBSEDCL, Bidhannagar Electric Supply Sub-Division and WBSEDCL, office of the S.E. & Divisional Manager, Salt Lake, Sector-I, U/S 12(1) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 as amended. The Complainant stated that he was the absolute owner by inheritance from his late father Debabrata Bhattacharya in respect of Premises at F 7/1, Labony Estate, Salt Lake, P.S. Bidhannagar North, Kolkata-700 064, where a domestic electricity connection was installed on furnishing appropriate security deposit and upon bearing other costs and the usual consumption was about 200 units per month. However, between May’03 and January’04 electricity bills showed consumption of around 952 to 600 units when the matter was taken up with the Ops and upon inspection the electric meter was changed. Subsequently there were grossly inflated consumption bills and consumption units increasingly showed higher numbers. Not having any satisfactory resolution on the payments earlier made or excess claim and on subsequent receipt of inflated bills coupled with demand of further security deposit the complainant made forceful representation resulting in initial threatening and ultimately disconnection of the complainant’s power line on 29.8.08 forcibly and quite illegally. On approach to the Ops it was stated that the complainant was not a bonafide consumer in respect of the given power line which existed in the name of Debabrata Bhattacharya and the name having not been changed in his favour and a substantial outstanding remaining unpaid on account of given power line, temporary connection/reconnection cannot be made. In between the complainant had got a plot of land at a different location in Salt Lake, but there also the complainant had difficulty in obtaining proper power supply on account of deficiency of service, willful negligence, unfair trade practice and high handedness on part of the Ops. Accordingly, the complainant moved the State Commission by filing a complaint under number CC/2008/51 when after hearing this Commission passed its order as under :-

    “Going by the foregoing discussion we are of the opinion that the present complaint is not maintainable in the eye of law and we are accordingly inclined to allow the maintainability petition filed by the Ops. The petition filed by the Complainant u/s 13(3)B is hereby dismissed on contest without any cost. The complaint not being maintainable is liable to be dismissed on contest without any cost. The complaint not being maintainable is liable to be dismissed on contest without any cost. With the above observation the complaint be disposed of accordingly. The office is directed to send the copy of this judgement upon the recorded Advocates of both the sides forthwith free of cost.”

    Stating that the complainant has come before this Commission with a new cause of action in this matter where the Hon’ble Apex Court has held that filing of a fresh complaint on the self-same issue has no bar, the complainant prayed for restoration of the electricity line with a replaced electric meter at the complainant’s said address and for compensation for Rs. 49,80,000/- and for other reliefs as deemed fit.

    The Ops namely WBSEDCL & another entered appearance and stated inter alia that the complaint was not maintainable either on law or on fact. Stating that the complaint has been filed without any cause of action it was argued that the complaint was already decided by this Commission in SC/CC/2008/51 regarding alleged restoration of electricity connection at F 7/1, Laboni Estate, Salt Lake and the same complaint with marginal modification has been filed before this Commission once again claiming huge compensation. Contending that the complaint was not maintainable in the light of the provisions of law as has been stated in the petition of complaint, it was submitted that a complainant cannot agitate successfully the same complaint with identical cause of action when the pronouncement of the Commission on the earlier complaint was unequivocal, loud and clear. Accordingly, the Ops prayed for dismissal of the complaint.

    The matter was heard from respective sides.
    DISCUSSION

    A. We have carefully gone through this complaint and find that in substance it resembles the previous complaint as was filed under this Commission’s Case No. CC/2008/51, where the essential difference in the two petitions relates primarily to furnishing more details in the present one compared to the earlier one and also in regard to filing of more annexures in the present one seeking to depict efforts of the complainant in resolving his problem when unfortunately he is presently in a bind. However, the fact remains that the cause of action remains the same pertaining to the same premises on the identical issue of power connection in the premises remaining disconnected and attempts towards restoration of the same with certain efforts on part of the complainant. Under provisions of Consumer Protection Act, 1986, as amended, the same matter having been heard and decided by this Commission this complaint has rightly been pointed out by the Ops as not maintainable, when the earlier one was heard on merit as well and then disposed. Accordingly, the complaint is liable to be dismissed without any cost.

    B. However, Consumer Protection Act, 1986, as amended, being a benevolent piece of legislation intended to address rightful grievances of consumers at large we would urge the Ops to clarify and explain to the complainant, a senior citizen, the provisions of law in regard to the mode and manner of recording his name as a consumer in respect of the given power line being apparent successor to the said premises after the demise of his father and also on making out a demand note of all outstanding dues in respect of the power line as on date with appropriate security deposit and penalty as may be chargeable. Applicable provisions of dispute redressal machinery as have been envisaged under the provisions of WBERC Regulation as published under number 36/WBERC dt. 12.9.07 should also be brought to his notice with a note on applicability thereof under given position. Considering the plight of the complainant the Ops are directed to convey their response within 60 (sixty) days from the date of this judgement and order.
    O R D E R

    The complaint is dismissed on contest without cost being not maintainable. The Ops are directed to clarify and explain to the complainant the provisions of law in regard to the mode and manner of recording his name as a consumer in respect of the given power line being apparent successor to the said premises post sad demise of his father and also on making out a demand note of all outstanding dues in respect of the power line as on date with appropriate security deposit and penalty as may be chargeable. Applicable provisions of dispute redressal machinery as have been envisaged under the provisions of WBERC Regulation as published under number 36/WBERC dt. 12.9.07 should also be brought to his notice with a note on applicability thereof under given position. Considering the plight of the complainant the Ops are directed to convey their response within 60 (sixty) days from the date of this judgement and order.

  3. #3
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    Default West Bengal State Electricity Distribution

    DATE OF FILING : 22.09.2009 DATE OF FINAL ORDER: 23.12.2009

    APPELLANT

    West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd.

    Through the Station Manager

    Debagram Group Electric Supply

    W.B.S.E.D.C.L.

    Post. Debagram, Dist. Nadia

    Having its corporate office at Vidyut Bhawan,

    Bidhannagar, Kolkata-700 091.



    RESPONDENTS



    Sadar Ali Mondal

    S/o Late Jamat Mondal

    Post & Vill. Akundadanga

    P.S. Nakashipara

    Dist. Nadia.

    BEFORE : MEMBER : MR. P.K.CHATTOPADHYAY

    MEMBER : MR. S.COARI

    FOR THE PETITIONER / APPELLANT : Mr. P.R.Bakshi, Ld. Advocate

    FOR THE RESPONDENT / O.P.S.: Mrs. K.Mukhopadhyay, Ld. Advocate

    : O R D E R :


    MR. P.K.CHATTOPADHYAY, LD. MEMBER

    This Appeal arose out of judgement and order dt. 31.7.09 in DCDRF, Nadia in C.F.Case No. CC/09/17 where the complainant, Sadar Ali Mondal’s case, in brief, was that he was a consumer against OP/WBSEDCL having one electric connection in respect of his shallow deep tube well. Previously he had filed a consumer case against the OP under No. NAD/26/O/07, which case was disposed on 30.7.08 directing the OP for reconnection of the given power line on payment of 20% of arrear power bill with payment of Rs. 1,000/- per month with the current bills. The OP reconnected the power line on 23.1.09 which remained disconnected for a period, but post reconnection the Op did not send electric bills for the period from 02/09 to 03/09. On 15.3.09 when the complainant went to the office of the OP to enquire about non-receipt of electric bills, OP’s office handed him 11 electric bills for the period from 4/08 to 2/09 which period covered disconnected period and also a part of January’09, when given power line was reconnected on 23.1.09. The complainant stated that pursuant to the direction, the OP did not provide electric meter. On 17.3.09 the complainant approached the OP for correction of the electric bills, but in vain. Since the OP did not receive the payment without having full payment of all the 11 bills, the instant complaint was filed praying for order for correction of the bills till January’09 with prayer for no-demand of the electric bills for the period from April’08 to December’08 and for giving electric meter and compensation of Rs. 10,000/- for harassment and mental agony with cost and other reliefs.

    The OP namely WBSEDCL, entered appearance and filed written version contending inter alia that the power line of the complainant was disconnected due to non-payment of electric bills amounting to Rs. 42,063/- outstanding for a long period. Upon receiving a part of the arrear outstanding power line was reconnected on 23.1.09 and electric bills from 4/08 to 02/09, i.e. total 11 bills, were duly issued to the complainant, but the same were presumably misplaced by courier service. Stating that an agreement with the complainant was executed at the time of giving electric connection initially where the complainant agreed to pay annual tariff @ Rs. 8,800/-, bills were raised on monthly basis as per norms and due to shortage of meters the meter could not be given at present, which was standard practice in such class of connections. Contending that there was no scope of exemption of energy bill during any period for reasons aforesaid, prayer was made for dismissal of the complaint and for rejection of the claim for compensation.

    Ld. Forum after hearing both sides passed its judgement and order as under :-

    “That the instant case is allowed on contest with cost of Rs. 2000/- (Rupees two thousand) only. The OP is directed not to demand the electric bill from April, 08 to December, 08 from the complainant. The OP is further directed to rectify the bill of January, 09 proportionately. The OP is further directed to install the meter to the shallow machine of the complainant as early as possible when the meter will be available. The complainant is also directed to comply the direction of the order of the Case No. NAD/26/O/07 regularly. The OP to pay the cost of Rs. 2,000/- as cited above to the complainant within 40 days from the date of this order failing which amount shall accrue interest @ 9% per annum till the date of making payment from this day. We pass no order of compensation as discussed in the body of the judgement.”



    Being aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgement and order of the Ld. Forum below the OP in the Forum below namely Station Manager, Debagram Group Electric Supply, filed this Appeal when the Appellant stated inter alia that the Ld. Forum below has totally failed to appreciate the fact of the case where post restoration of power the complainant deliberately chose not to make payment of remainder part of the outstanding dues of Rs. 33,503/- and, therefore, the complaint not being made in clean hand and also in suppression of material fact and document was liable to be dismissed ab initio. Contending further that relevant power consumption bills were raised regularly and that the complainant failed to pay for consumption for the period from April’08 to February’09 it was stated that no complaint was ever raised as regards non-receipt of the said bills and in any case it was incumbent upon the Respondent/Complainant to pursue for duplicate power bills as is provided under law. Stating that the Ld. Forum below failed to appreciate that disconnection of supply was made due to non-payment of the bills it was submitted that there was no scope of exemption from payment of energy bill during the period the agreement subsisted and that the impugned judgement and order of the Ld. Forum below in the matter of the complaint was beyond the provisions of Electricity Act 2003 as amended in 2007 and rules made thereunder. Accordingly, the Appellant prayed for setting aside of the impugned judgement and order and for passing of further orders as deemed necessary.

    The Respondent namely Sadar Ali Mondal, entered appearance and filed his submission stating inter alia that the Ld. Forum below rightly adjudicated the matter and the same in the fact of the case should be affirmed. Stating that the impugned judgement and order was perfectly in order and in line with the provisions of Electricity Act, 2003 the Respondent stated that there could be no consumption bills for the period the power line remained disconnected and, therefore, the bills raised for that period were bad and the Ld. Forum below rightly ordered for cancellation of the same.

    The matter was heard from respective sides with filing of BNA.
    DISCUSSION
    A. In terms of provisions of Electricity Act 2003 as amended in 2007 and the regulation made thereunder by WBERC as notified under number 36/WBERC dt. 12.9.07, which is appended below, the finding of the Ld. Forum below was grossly erroneous and misconceived and not tenable. Power line is liable to be disconnected for any consumer once there was non-payment of consumption bills and in that view the disconnection meted out to the Respondent/Complainant was perfectly in order.

    3.5 Payment of disputed bills :

    3.5.1(a) In case there is any dispute in respect of billed amount, the consumer may lodge a complaint with the Grievance Redressal Officer of the licensee and thereafter to the Ombudsman in appeal against the order of the Grievance Redressal Officer, if the consumer is aggrieved by the order of the Grievance Redressal Officer, in accordance with the provisions of the concerned Regulations. In such a case the aggrieved consumer may, under protest, pay –

    i) an amount equal to the sum claimed from him in the disputed bill, or

    ii) an amount equal to the electricity charges due from him for each month calculated on the basis of average charge for electricity paid by him during the preceding six months.

    whichever is less pending disposal of the dispute.

    (b) The amount so calculated provisionally under clause (ii) by the licensee and tendered by the consumer shall be accepted by the licensee against that bill on provisional basis.



    3.5.2 If any aggrieved consumer makes a provisional payment, as aforesaid, no penal measure including disconnection for non-payment shall be taken against him till the dispute is settled either at the level of the Grievance Redressal Officer or the Ombudsman, as the case may be. However, imposition of a delayed payment surcharge, if applicable, shall not count towards a penal measure for this purpose.

    3.5.3 The provisional payment under regulation 3.5.1 shall be adjusted against any subsequent bill (s) of the consumer on settlement of the dispute at the appropriate level.

    3.5.4 If, on settlement of the dispute, it is found that the consumer has paid more than what is due from him, the licensee shall pay interest on the excess amount paid by the consumer under regulation 3.5.1.(a) at a rate of 1% above the short term prime lending rate of the State Bank of India as on 1st April of the financial year in which the dispute arises for the period from the date of payment by the consumer under regulation 3.5.1.(a) up to the date of adjustment under regulation 3.5.3. The interest to be paid by the licensee, if any, shall be adjusted along with the adjustment under regulation 3.5.3.

    3.5.5 The aforesaid methods of dealing with payment of bills, where the bills are disputed shall not apply to matters falling under section 126 or section 127 or any section in Part XIV of the Act.



    B. As for any dispute in regard to quantum of consumption bills and/or outstanding amount or periodicity thereof, we would refer to Section 3.5 of the said notification namely 36/WBERC dt. 12.9.07 where a system and procedure has been laid down for disputes in regard to power consumption bills and resolution thereof. In that view, any arbitrary order on payment of any part of the outstanding or for providing interim correction or payment of quantum of the outstanding in a phased manner is irregular and not sustainable being beyond the provisions of law. In above view, the Appeal is liable to allowed on contest without cost and the impugned judgement and order of the Ld. Forum below is liable to be set aside.

    C. In such regard we would also rely on the Apex Court judgement as in 2009 CTJ 1062 (SC)(CP) – Civil Appeal No. 7687 of 2004, wherein it has been held inter alia that “It is well settled that the Special law overrides the general law. Hence, in our opinion, the High Court was not correct in its approach.”

    ORDER

    The Appeal stands allowed on contest without cost. The impugned judgement and order of the Ld. Forum below is set aside. The Respondent is, however, given liberty to agitate his grievance, if any, before the grievance redressal machinery, as established under law, subject to satisfaction of conditions laid down therefor.

  4. #4
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    Default West Bengal State Electricity Distribution

    APPELLANTS

    West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd.

    Through Assistant Engineer, Murarai Group Electric Supply

    Having his corporate office at Vidyut Bhawan, Salt Lake,

    Kolkata.

    RESPONDENTS

    1. Safikul Alam

    S/o Late Abdul Hakim

    2. Abdul Rob

    S/o Late Mafiz Mondal

    3. Kazimuddun

    S/o Late Motaleb Biswas

    4. Lokman Sk.

    S/o Late Nuhu Sk.

    5. Golam Murtuza

    S/o Late Yusuf Khan

    6. Piar Hossain

    S/o Late Matiur Rahaman

    All of Village Uttar Ramchandrapur

    P.S. Murarai

    Dist. Birbhum.

    BEFORE : MEMBER : MR. P.K.CHATTOPADHYAY

    MEMBER : MR. S.COARI

    FOR THE PETITIONER / APPELLANT : Mr. S.Nayak, Ld. Advocate

    FOR THE RESPONDENT / O.P.S.: Mr. B.Prasad, Ld. Advocate

    : O R D E R :


    MR. P.K.CHATTOPADHYAY, LD. MEMBER

    This Appeal arose out of judgement and order dt. 12.5.09 in DCDRF, Birbhum (Suri) Case No. CC/42/O/2008 where the complainants’ grievance related to their power connections in STWs, which were operated for irrigation. During the year 2006 because of inadequate and erratic supply of power they could not operate the tubewells properly resulting in damage of crops and concomitant accumulation of energy charges. On 9.12.06 the power lines were disconnected without any prior notice and thus the complainants sustained major financial loss through loss of crops and other mischief. However, even after payment of electricity dues by some of the complainants, the reconnection has not been made and thus the complaint seeking relief and damages.

    The OP namely WBSEDCL, inspite of due notice did not enter appearance, nor did they contest the case.

    After hearing the Ld. Forum below allowed the complaint in part ex parte and ordered as under :-

    “That the complaint is allowed ex parte in part against the opposite party W.B.S.E.D.C.L. represented by the A.E. and the S.M. of Murarai Gr. Electric Supply.

    The Opp. Party is directed to restore the service connections of all the complainants in their S.T.W.s after collecting arrear dues, if any, prior to the disconnection on 09.12.2006 within 15 days from this order.

    The complainants are awarded compensation of Rs. 6000/- for harassment and deficiency in service of the employees of the W.B.S.E.D.C.L. and litigation cost of Rs. 300/-.

    The O.P. is directed to pay the awarded amount within 30 days of this order failing which the amount shall carry interest @ 10% p.a. after the expiry of 30 days till payment.”

    Being aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgement and order of the Ld. Forum below the OP in the Forum and Appellant here namely WBSEDCL, filed this Appeal stating inter alia that firstly, the complaint was not maintainable as the complainants, each of them having separate power connection with separate consumer number and billing issue, could not have filed one case against the Appellant without taking leave of the Forum. Secondly, the Respondents suppressed the material fact that they were enjoying electricity for STW connections without any payment and thirdly, the electricity dues remaining outstanding they had no case whatsoever on the allegation of deficiency of service on part of the Appellant and in that case the orders of the Ld. Forum below for payment of compensation of Rs. 6,000/- and the litigation cost of Rs. 300/- was arbitrary, beyond provisions of law and hence, not sustainable.

    The complainants in the Forum namely Safikul Alam and five others, entered appearance and argued that the Appellant in not having supplied power intermittently the Respondents suffered immense damage in crops resulting in financial distress. To add to the injury the power lines were snapped without notice and were not reconnected inspite of approaches on their part even when outstanding dues were cleared by a number of complainants. Accordingly, the Respondents prayed for affirmation of the impugned judgement and order in the Ld. Forum below.
    DISCUSSION

    A. Admittedly the complaint was filed by a group of individuals suffering supposedly similar nature of damages with almost identical grievances against the sole Appellant namely WBSEDCL. But the Consumer Protection Act being essentially a benevolent act intended to address the grievances of consumers at large and the complaint having been admitted and allowed by the Ld. Forum below we do not find any infirmity as such in entertaining the complaint and in disposal thereof overlooking marginal technicality as the Forum did.

    B. In regard to the ingredients of the complaint namely erratic and inadequate power supply as was provided to the given STW power connections, the Ops having not appeared in the Forum below we have hardly any specific evidence as to the demand and supply scenario of power and also the technical impediments/limitations as prevailed at the give site. From whatever we experience in our daily life, we are well aware that there is a gap in demand-supply setup in the state at given junctures and that there are periods of load shedding/power disruptions owing to mismatch in demand-supply and also due to huge expansion of power grids and continuous development thereon. In that view, we do not find any hard evidence on part of the complainants where it can be said that there was any deliberate negligence/deficiency of service on part of the Appellant so that it can be said that the Appellant had any bias towards the Respondents in regard to continuity of supply of power or in causing erratic/faulty supply.

    C. In regard to outstanding electricity dues, reasonability thereof or disconnection for supposed non-payment/delayed payment, the provisions of Electricity Act, 2003 as amended in 2007 and WBERC Regulations thereof being numbered 36/WBERC dt. 12.9.07 are applicable and the orders of the Ld. Forum relating thereto are bad, not lawful and, therefore, not sustainable. In terms of provision 3.5 of the said Regulations the Respondents are entitled to seek redressal on compliance of due formalities and they are liable to be given liberty on the face of present Appeal.
    O R D E R
    The Appeal is allowed on contest without cost. The impugned judgement and order of the Ld. Forum is set aside. However, the Respondents are given liberty to seek redress of their billing grievances/disconnection/restoration of respective power lines in the appropriate rederessal forum subject to fulfillment of conditions laid down therefor.

  5. #5
    adv.singh is offline Senior Member
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    Default West Bengal State Electricity Board

    APPELLANT

    Mr. Harisadhan Choudhury

    Vill. Jadalla,

    Dist. Bankura.

    RESPONDENTS

    1. The Senior Station Superintendent

    West Bengal State Electricity Board

    Presently known as W.B.S.E.D.C.LTD.

    Lalbazar Sector

    Bankura.

    2. West Bengal State Electricity Board

    Presently known as W.B.S.E.D.C.LTD.

    Represented by Secretary

    At Bidyut Bhawan, Bidhan Nagar

    Block-DJ, Sector-II

    Kolkata-700 091.



    BEFORE : MEMBER : MR. P.K.CHATTOPADHYAY

    MEMBER : MR. S.COARI



    FOR THE PETITIONER / APPELLANT : Mr. B.Prasad, Ld. Advocate

    FOR THE RESPONDENT / O.P.S.: Mr. S.Nayak, Ld. Advocate

    : O R D E R :


    MR. S.COARI, LD. MEMBER

    The present Appeal has been directed against the judgement and order dt. 3.8.09 passed by the Ld. District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Bankura in Proceeding Case No. 11/1997 wherein the Ld. District Forum dismissed the complaint case on contest without any order as to cost.

    The Complainant/Respondent’s case before the Ld. District Forum, in brief, was that the complainant was a consumer under the Respondent/Electricity Board in respect of a wheat grinding-cum-spice grinding machine in his village. According to the complainant, in order to harass the complainant the Ops started creating trouble for no reason whatsoever and ultimately was successful in instituting a false criminal case on the allegation of theft of electricity at the instance of the complainant and in the process was successful in disconnecting the electric line of the complainant. Subsequently, the criminal case ended in acquittal of the complainant and thereafter the Ops/Respondents started sending fictitious and inflated bills to the complainant which was beyond the actual state of affairs. Being aggrieved and dissatisfied with such illegal activities on part of the Ops/Respondents the complainant instituted a complaint case before the Ld. District Forum for proper redressal.

    The Ops entered appearance in the said complaint case and filed written version thereby denying all the material averments of the petition of complaint contending inter alia that the case was not maintainable. The bills were raised as per actual consumption on part of the complainant and prayed for dismissal of the petition of complaint.

    The Ld. District Forum while disposing of the petition of complaint has observed that the complainant having filed three sets of petition of complaint it was not clear exactly on which petition of complaint the complainant was relying and also detected some technical defects in the petition of complaint so filed by the complainant and ultimately dismissed the petition of complaint being not maintainable.

    The only moot question that revolves round the present Appeal is as to whether the Ld. District Forum was justified enough in disposing of the petition of complaint in the manner as discussed above.
    DECISION WITH REASONS
    At the time of hearing it has been submitted on behalf of the Respondents that originally the complainant/Appellant filed a case challenging the disconnection of electricity on the ground of theft of electrical energy. Subsequently the complainant filed another complaint thereby challenging the monthly bills sent to him for electricity consumption. Thereafter the complainant filed another petition of complaint after being acquitted from the criminal case. According to the Ld. Advocate for the Respondents, the Ld. Forum was justified in dismissing the petition of complaint as the complainant was not sure upon which set of petition of complaint he was relying and wanted to proceed. While supporting the impugned judgement the Ld. Advocate for the Respondents has urged before us that when the complainant was not himself sure about the petition of complaint upon which he was relying, it was not incumbent upon the Ld. District Forum to dispose of the matter on merit. While concluding his submissions the Ld. Advocate for the Respondents has submitted that the Ld. District Forum was justified in dismissing the petition of complaint having not maintainable and the impugned judgement should be upheld.

    We have duly considered the submissions put forward on behalf of the Respondents and have also gone through the materials on record including the pleadings of the parties and the impugned judgement and find that in this case it is an admitted position that at the initial stage there was an allegation of theft of electricity at the instance of the complainant and a criminal proceeding was instituted against him. Subsequently the complainant was acquitted from the said criminal proceeding. Now, on perusal of the impugned judgement we find that the Ld. District Forum was in confusion as to on which petition of complaint the complainant was relying and as such, the Ld. District Forum dismissed the petition of complaint being not maintainable. In this regard, we are of considered opinion that the Ld. District Forum should have fixed up a particular petition of complaint upon which the complainant was relying upon and ought to have disposed of the petition of complaint on merit. The Ld. District Forum having not done so the same is not sustainable under the law. Accordingly, we are of considered opinion that ends of justice would be met if the impugned judgement is set aside and the case be sent back in open remand before the Ld. District Forum for disposal according to law. In this regard, we request the Ld. Forum to afford opportunity to the respective parties to adduce evidence in support of their cases before disposing of the petition of complaint. In the result, the Appeal succeeds.

    Hence, it is ORDERED that the Appeal succeeds on contest without any order as to cost. The impugned judgement is set aside. The case is sent back on open remand to the Ld. District Forum below with a request to afford opportunity to both sides to adduce evidence in support of their respective cases and to dispose of the case on merit as expeditiously as possible preferably within three months from the date of receipt of this judgement.

  6. #6
    adv.singh is offline Senior Member
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    Default West Bengal State Electricity Distribution

    APPELLANT

    West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd.

    Through the Station Manager

    Birsingha Group Electric Supply

    P.O. Birsingha, P.S. Ghatal,

    Dist. Paschim Midnapur.

    RESPONDENT

    Bimal Kumar Jana

    S/o Late Kalipada Jana

    Vill. Jamira, P.O. Dewanchalk

    P.S. Ghatal,

    Dist. Paschim Midnapur.



    BEFORE : MEMBER : MR. P.K.CHATTOPADHYAY

    MEMBER : MR. S.COARI



    FOR THE PETITIONER / APPELLANT : Mr. S.Nayak, Ld. Advocate

    FOR THE RESPONDENT / O.P.S.: None

    : O R D E R :


    MR. P.K.CHATTOPADHYAY, LD. MEMBER

    This Appeal arose out of judgement and order dt. 29.7.09 in DCDRF, Paschim Midnapur Case No. 34/2009 where the complainant, Mr. Bimal Kr. Jana’s complaint related to two ingredients of deficiency of service namely (1) in regard to his prayer for domestic power connection and failure on OP’s part to effect the same inspite of the complainant’s doing everything including deposits and filing of test report, and (2) on account of delay in having power connection from the OP the complainant was supposedly provided power connection from overhead supply not channeling through any electric meter, the same not being provided, which power connection was enjoyed for a period of about a year by the complainant and following that the complainant was caught for theft of electrical energy and was slapped with a provisional bill of Rs. 19,820/- along with a criminal case, which amount was deposited by the complainant immediately seeking consideration and review of the amount so deposited on the plea that the assessment was exorbitant and not in tune with the load applied for in the service connection and in any case, was beyond the usual possibilities. According to the complainant, the Ops sat tight over such application for review/appeal without assigning any reason whatsoever and without delivering any result therefor. All this while the complainant maintained that post disconnection after the theft charge, no power line was provided to his premises and as a result, he was continuing to suffer grave inconvenience and deep distress affecting health and finance of his family.

    The Ops namely WBSEDCL, entered appearance and contested the case by filing written objection contending inter alia that for non-submission of test report till regarding wiring of his house 13.9.09 they could not effect electric connection and after submission of test report the meter was duly issued in favour of the complainant, but the entire set of requisite materials were not supplied by the complainant and finally on 18.5.09 when OP’s men went to install the meter at the house of the complainant, objections were raised by the complainant and thus the meter could not be installed. Accordingly, the OP sought dismissal of the complaint the same being filed without valid reason or logic.

    After hearing respective sides the Ld. District Forum passed its judgement and order as under :-

    “Hence, it is ordered that the complaint be allowed on contest. The OP No. 2 is directed to effect electric connection to the house of the complainant within 15 days from the date of communication of this order. The West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd. is directed to pay compensation of Rs. 5,000/- to the complainant for their deficiency in service for not effecting electric connection to the house of the complainant for about 2 years since date of deposit of quotation money for the purpose, and Rs. 2000/- towards the litigation cost, within one month of communication of this order failing which they are liable to pay interest thereon @ 10% per annum till payment. The OP No. 2 is further directed to refund Rs. 15,000/- out of Rs. 19,820/- paid by the complainant as per provisional bill issued by the OP No. 2 within the stipulated date. The OP No. 2 is also directed to compound the alleged offence u/s-135 of I.E.Act started against the complainant at any early date. The OP No. 1 may realize the amount of compensation payable to the complainant from the salary of the Station Manager, Mir Abdus Sultan.”



    Being aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgement and order the OP in the Forum namely WBSEDCL, filed this Appeal stating inter alia that the impugned order is bad in law for the reasons that (1) the complainant committed theft of electrical energy and a police case is pending when provisional bill was also raised and paid and, therefore, the complaint was not maintainable, and (2) it was also stated that the complainant failed to arrange PCC poll and, therefore, the power line could not be provided, which could not be a case for complaint. Stating that the Forum’s order for refund of Rs. 15,000/- against provisional bill was wholly arbitrary and not viable under provisions of law, it was further contended that the Station Manager, Mir Abdul Sultan, not being a party to the complaint no adverse order towards realization of the awarded amount from him could be passed, which was patently wrong and hence, not maintainable. Accordingly, the Appellant prayed for setting aside of the impugned judgement and order and for passing further orders as deemed fit.

    At the time of final hearing of the Appeal the Respondent namely Mr. Bimal Kumar Jana, appeared in person and stated inter alia by swearing an affidavit that he has paid the amount claimed by WBSEDCL out of theft of electrical energy, which has duly been admitted by him, and he has no objection if the Appeal is allowed in favour of WBSEDCL, the Appellant.



    In view of such submission by the Respondent himself we find no other alternative but to allow the Appeal in favour of the Appellant, WBSEDCL.

    O R D E R

    Hence, it is ordered that the Appeal stands allowed on contest without any order as to cost. The impugned judgement is set aside.

  7. #7
    adv.singh is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Complaint case No. 60/2009 Date of disposal: 13/11//2009

    BEFORE : THE HON’BLE PRESIDENT : Mr. P. K. Sarkar.

    MEMBER : Mr. S. Pal.

    MEMBER : Smt. J. Sarkar. For the Complainant/Petitioner/Plaintiff: Mr. A. Mandal.

    For the Defendant/O.P.S. : Mr. D. P. Dasmahapatra.

    (1) Sri Yogendra Singh, S/o-Sri Krishna Singh of Gopalnagar, P.S.-Kharagpur(T), P.O.-Kharagpur, Dist Paschim Medinipur………….Complainant.

    Vs.

    1) Station Manager, WBSEDCLtd., Kharagpur Gr., Saktibhaban, Inda, P.S.-Kharagpur(T), P.O.-Kharagpur, Dist. Paschim Medinipur.

    2) WBSEDCLtd., Kharagpur Gr., Saktibhaban, Inda, P.S.-Kharagpur(T), P.O.-Kharagpur, Dist. Paschim Medinipur. ………………………..Ops.

    The facts of the case, in brief, is as follows :-

    The complainant applied to the Op. no.1 on 08/12/2008 for electric connection to his newly constructed house in ward no.22 of Kharagpur municipality within the District Paschim Medinipur and subsequently the complainant deposited Rs.500/- as earnest money on 10/12/2008 and Rs.1, 150/- towards S.C. charge and security deposit on 16/03/2009 in the office of the Op. no.1 as required by them for said electric connection in his house. But the op. no.1 failed to give electric connection to the house of the complainant in spite of repeated request by the complainant and finally on 06/07/2009, the Op. no.1 informed the complainant that they were unable to give electric connection to the house of the complainant. As such, the complainant filed the instant complaint before this Forum alleging deficiency in service on the part of the Ops,. with prayer for issuance of directions upon them to give electric connection to the house of the complainant and to pay compensation of Rs.10,000/- to the complainant for their deficiency in service and the litigation cost.

    The Ops. contested the case filing their written objection contending interalia, that on 13/09/2007 the complainant was found to have been drawing electricity from the L.T.O.M.

    Contd………….P/2
    - ( 2 ) -

    Line of the Ops. for the purpose of running the marble cutting polish machine and on the basis of an F.I.R. lodged at KGP(T) P.S. the Kharagpur (T) P.S. Case no.166/07 was started against the complainant; that the complainant was asked to pay the provisional bill for Rs.1,13,806/- for such illegal consumption of electricity by the complainant; and that they are unable to give electric connection to the house of the complainant due to non-payment of such provisional bill for Rs.1,13,806/- by the complainant and as such the complaint filed against them should be dismissed with costs.

    The points for decisions are :

    1) Whether the complainant is a consumer within the meaning of the section 2 (i) (d) (ii) of the C.P. Act, 1986 ?

    2) Whether the Ops. are deficient in service within the meaning of section 2 (1)(g) read with section 2(1)(0) of the C. P. Act, 1986 ?

    3) Whether the complainant is entitled to get the reliefs as sought for ?

    Decisions with reasons :

    Point No. 1.

    Admittedly the Op no.1 received earnest money of Rs.500/- on 10/12/2008 and the security deposit and S.C. charge amounting to Rs.1,150/- on 16/03/2009 form the complainant as per quotation issued by them. for giving electric connection to the complainant’s house So, there is no doubt that the complainant is a consumer of the Ops. as defined under section 2 (1) (d) (ii) of the C.P. Act, 1986 read with the section 2(1)(g) and 2(1)(o) of the Act.

    Point Nos. 2.& 3.

    The Ops. asserted in their W/O that they could not give electric connection to the house of the complainant as the complainant failed to pay the provisional bill for Rs.1,13,806/- for illegal consumption of electricity by the complainant to run the marble cutting polish machine at the premises in question as detected earlier on 13/09/2007. Ld. Lawyer for the complainant admitted that Kharagpur (T) P.S. Case no.166/07 is pending against the complainant for the alleged illegal consumption of electricity by the complainant at the premises in question and the Op no.1 also issued a provisional bill for Rs.1,13,806/- under section 126 of the Electricity Act for the alleged illegal consumption of electricity by the complainant. Now, the question is whether the complainant is entitled to get electricity in his house when the Kharagpur (T) P.S. Case no.166/07 is pending against him for alleged illegal consumption of electricity by him at the same premises earlier and/or when the complainant failed to pay the provisional bill for Rs.1,13,806/- for the alleged illegal consumption of electricity by him at the premises in question earlier.

    Contd………….P/3


    - ( 3 ) -

    Ld lawyer for the complainant cited the decision reported in III(2004) CPJ 106(NC) and contended that the complaint filed by the complainant is maintainable before this forum even if the criminal case for the alleged illegal consumption of electricity by him earlier is pending against him and he failed to pay provisional bill raised by the Ops. under section 126 of the Electricity Act for the alleged illegal consumption of electricity by him, in view of said decision of the NCDRC, NEW DELHI. The maintainability of this complaint is disputed and as such the said decision got no relevance to answer the question before us. Ld. Lawyer for the complainant failed to cite any decision in support of the proposition that the complainant is entitled to get electricity at his newly constructed house even though the criminal case for the alleged illegal consumption of electricity by him earlier is pending against him and he failed to pay provisional bill raised by the Ops. under section 126 of the Electricity Act for the alleged illegal consumption of electricity by him. Rather in view of the decision reported in 2007 CTJ 771(CP)(SCDRC) it can be inferred that the complainant involved in criminal case for illegal consumption of electricity is not entitled to get electric connection till the case is disposed of. Since the question as to whether the complainant illegally consumed electricity at the premises in question earlier is sub-judice before the criminal Court and the complainant failed to challenge the provisional bill for Rs.1,13,806/- issued by the Ops. under section 126 of the Electricity Act for the alleged illegal consumption of electricity by him by filing an appeal under section 127 of the Act or in the complaint filed before this Forum; the complainant cannot be said to have legal right to get electric connection at his house unless the civil and criminal liabilities of the complainant, if any, for the alleged illegal consumption of electricity at his house earlier are finally settled by the appropriate authorities. Accordingly these issues are decided against the complainant.

    Hence,

    Ordered,

    that the complaint be dismissed on contest. The parties do bear their respective costs.

    Let the copies of this order be supplied to the contesting parties free of cost.

    Dic. & Corrected by me

  8. #8
    shantanu1040 Guest

    Post earthing rod and wire not installed

    i got the new electric connection on march 11.The people who came to install the new electric meter at my residence, they didn't connect the electric meter with the earthing rod. I have complained several times but no reply from the Bagnan electricity board. please help me.


    Name:- Shantanu Bandyopadhyay
    Phone:- 9474025868
    My resi. add:- Khadinan, Bagnan, Howrah- 711303
    Electricity office:- Bagnan

  9. #9
    Unregistered Guest

    Default Unauthorised electric connection at ck-248, 1st floor, salt lake city, kolkata - 700091

    This is to inform you that the power supply to Saybal Ghosh s/o Mrs.Arati Ghosh has been disconected many a times by electric board for non payment.

    But to our surprise he manages to get a electrician the same day and get his connection done. again this time he has taken connection from diffrent source.

    In case you are unable to take any serious steps to this effect, please do not take any step and ignore this complain.

    For your Information

  10. #10
    Unregistered Guest

    Default Faliure to replace meter for load enhancement against deposition of quotation money since two months

    Date: 25.06.2013
    To,
    The Managing Director,
    WBSEDCL,
    Vidyut Bhavan ,Salt Lake City ,
    Kolkata – 700091

    Respected Sir,
    I had deposited quotation money of Rs.16521.00 by cash at Krisnapur supply office for load enhancement (application no: 1001310468) via receipt number : 1282555 and 1282556 on 24/04/2013. Upon enquiry I was told that the work order had been issued on 27/04/2013 (work order number : 1413886) in the name of contractor Sarkar Power (Sailesh Sarkar) for replacing of higher ampere meter. Two months have passed ,meter has not been replaced. As an ordinary customer, just to install an AC (1.5 ton) during the summer time , I had to pay Rs. 16521.00 + Rs.200 earnest money (dated 9/03/2013) for meter up gradation. Summer has gone , meter has not been replaced . I request u to return my money or adjust the same with my future electricity bills. My consumer id is 123063691.
    Waiting for your prompt action.
    Thanking you,
    Yours faithfully ,
    Amitendu Pattrea
    AF-136, Rabindrapally,
    Talbagan ,Krishnapur,
    Kolkata -700101.
    Mobile No:9830140986
    Email id: amitendu_pattrea@hotmail.com

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