This is a discussion on West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd. V/s Sri Amal Chandra Singha within the Judgments forums, part of the General Discussions category; State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission West Bengal BHABANI BHAVAN (GROUND FLOOR) 31, BELVEDERE ROAD, ALIPORE KOLKATA – 700 027 S.C. ...
State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
BHABANI BHAVAN (GROUND FLOOR)
31, BELVEDERE ROAD, ALIPORE
KOLKATA – 700 027
S.C. CASE NO. : FA/08/419
DATE OF FILING : 04.11.2008 DATE OF FINAL ORDER: 29.05.2009
West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd.
Through the Station Manager,
Subarnapur Group Electric Supply
WBSEDCL, Subarnapur, Nadia
Having its corporate office at Bidyut Bhawan
Bidhan Nagar, Kolkata-700 091.
Sri Amal Chandra Singha
S/o Late Chitta Ranjan Singha
Gerupara, P.O. Nimtala Bazar,
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. B.Prasad, Ld. Advocate
: O R D E R :
MR. P.K.CHATTOPADHYAY, LD. MEMBER
This Appeal arose out of the judgement and order dt. 29.8.08 passed by Ld. Nadia District Consumer Forum in C.F.Case No. CC/08/13 where the complainant, Sri Amal Chandra Singha’s complaint related to service connection in the name of his late father Chitta Ranjan Singha from WBSEDCL when the consumer got consumption bills on the basis of average consumption. From January, 2002 to March, 2002 this average consumption was raised to 350 units from previous 93 units and the complainant, on approach to the service provider, was told that the meter was defective and the bill for the period from January, 2002 to March, 2002 remained outstanding. On 10.07.02 the complainant was asked to deposit additional security amounting to Rs. 570/-, but the electric line was disconnected on 17.3.03, supposedly for non-payment of consumption bills. Again on approach to the service provider, the complainant was advised to deposit Rs. 1050/- towards getting a replacement of meter, which amount was paid on 16.8.05, but no new meter was provided, nor reconnection of power line was effected. Thus the complaint seeking restoration of power connection with installation of new meter and also for payment of Rs. 50,000/- towards mental agony, etc. and cost.
The OP, WBSEDCL, entered appearance and stated inter alia that firstly the case was not maintainable because the complainant was not a Consumer, the service connection being in the name of his father who was since deceased and also that no effort was made for transfer of name. For power consumption from April, 2002 to March, 2003 when the electric meter at the given location was non-functional, the consumption bill so raised was prepared on the basis of inspection and calculation of load factor which took into account extension of power line to three other families as was done by the complainant beyond the knowledge and authority of the service provider. Accordingly, the Ops prayed for dismissal of the complaint the same not being maintainable as it was beyond the provisions of laws and rules.
The Ld. Forum below after hearing both sides passed its judgement and order as under :-
“That the case be and the same is allowed with cost of Rs. 1,000/-.
1) The OP is directed to prepare fresh bill for the period of Apr’02 to Mar’03 on the basis of average meter reading for consecutive 3 bills preceding billing in which period the defective was noticed and submit the said electric bill to the complainant within 2 weeks from the date of this order and on having payment from the complainant the OP will restore the electric connection in the premises of the complainant within one week from the date of receipt of payment of bill from the complainant including reconnection charge.
2) The OP will pay Rs. 5,000/- as compensation for mental pain and harassment of the OP.
3) The OP is further directed to pay sum of Rs. 5,000/- + Rs. 1,000/- totalling to Rs. 6,000/- (Rupees six thousand) only within 45 days from the date hereof and in case of failure, the amount of Rs. 6,000/- will accrue interest @ 9% per annum after expiry of 45 days till realization.
The complainant do pay accordingly.
Hand over a copy of this judgement to the each of the parties free of cost.
The case is disposed of by 4 months and 11 days.”
Being aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgement and order the Ops in the Forum namely, WBSEDCL, filed this Appeal stating inter alia that the Ld. Forum inspite of being pointed out did not pay heed to the fact that the complaint suffered from limitation so far cause of action was concerned and also that the complainant, not being a Consumer before the service provider/Appellant, had no locus standi. It was also contended that the Respondent/Complainant being himself deficient in not paying the requisite consumption bills, the Appellant was in no way liable for any deficiency of service alleged to have been perpetrated on the Respondent/Complainant and hence, the Appeal, seeking dismissal and other appropriate orders.
The Respondent namely, Sri Amal Chandra Singha, entered appearance and pointed out that firstly the cause of action was continuous from the date the electric disconnection was effected when the Respondent/Complainant was made to pay for meter replacement cost and additional security and also when the given demand of Rs. 7,594/- was itself disputed, so calculated without any transparent basis and also when the meter was not functioning. The matter was heard from respective sides with filing of WNA.
A. As per provisions of Consumer Protection Act, the complainant being the son of the consumer before WBSEDCL is the Consumer for the purpose of the complaint case and there is no dispute either as to territorial jurisdiction. In such view, we find that the Ld. Forum has very rightly adjudicated the matter on the basis of the complaint.
B. In the given fact of the case the Respondent/Complainant his meter being defective and also on the basis of his application for change of the meter, the appellant raised bill and accepted the charges towards replacement of the meter and also for additional security deposit. As for the complainant’s consumption bill amounting to Rs. 7,594/-, the same appears to be based on actual inspection and calculation of load when the Respondent/Complainant was alleged to have given extension of power line to three others beyond the authority and knowledge of the service provider. Obviously, the disputed consumption bill could have been addressed through reference to ‘Grievance redressal machinery’ when the Consumer had reservation on the given amount based on his prior period consumption bills, but the same was not done. On the other hand, the Respondent/Complainant also did not take steps either by intimation or through obtaining permission for extension of power line to three others from the service provider. Therefore, there was some deficiency on the part of both the contesting parties and in such regard, we cannot hold that the Appellant/OP is solely responsible for the suffering of the Respondent/Complainant.
C. In the light of foregoing the Appellant is directed to effect reconnection of power to the Respondent/Complainant provisionally on his payment of an amount of Rs. 2,500/- (Rupees two thousand five hundred only) along with appropriate reconnection charges to the Appellant when the prior period consumption bill of Rs. 7,594/- would be referred to the ‘Grievance redressal machinery’ towards determination of the right amount after taking into consideration all the relevant factors. The impugned judgement and order of the Ld. Forum below would be so modified on this line.
O R D E R
The Appeal is allowed in part on contest without cost. The Appellant is directed to provide reconnection of power line to the Respondent/Complainant within a period of 30 days from the date of provisional deposit by the Respondent/Complainant of an amount of Rs. 2,500/- (Rupees two thousand five hundred only) with reconnection charges as are due when the prior period consumption bill of Rs. 7,594/- would be referred to the ‘Grievance redressal machinery’ for determination of the appropriate amount in the facts and circumstances of the case, to be so paid in suitable number of installments as may be decided by such authority. The order on compensation and cost is set aside.