BEFORE THE DISTRICT FORUM CONSTITUTED UNDER THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT (ACT NO. 68 OF 86) AT SRIKAKULAM
P R E S E N T
01. Sri P.Gurunadha Rao,
President, District Consumer Forum,
02. Smt. D.Raj Kumari, B.A.(Hons.), B.L.,
03. Sri K.Siva Rama Krishna, B.L.,
Dated this the 25th day of March, 2009
C.D.No. 69 /2007
M/s. Sri Venkateswara Modern Rice Mill, Rep.by its Proprietor, Gedela Venkata Rao Naidu, S/o.Simhadri Naidu, Business, Aged about 71 years, Cheedipudi Vilage, Cheedipudi Post, Saravakota Mandal, Srikakulam District. ...Complainant.
01) The Assistant Divisional Engineer (OPs), APEPDCL,
Tekkali, Srikakulam District.
02) The Divisional Engineer (OPs), APEPDCL, Tekkali, Srikakulam District. 03) The Assistant Accounts Officer, ERO, APEPDCL, Tekkali, Srikakulam Dist. 04) The Assistant Engineer (OPs), APEPDCL, Saravakota, Srikakulam Dist. 05) The Superintendent Engineer (OPs), APEPDCL, Srikakulam. …opposite parties.
This complaint coming on 27-01-2009 for final hearing before us in the presence of Sri Y.Tirupathi Rao, Advocate for complainant and Sri P.V.Ramana Dayal, Advocate for opposite party Nos. 1 to 5 and having stood over to this day for consideration, this Forum made the following:
O R D E R
This is a complaint filed under Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and facts of the case briefly are as follows:
Complainant is a rice mill represented by its Proprietor. Rice mill is having electricity service connection No.70 under category No.IIIA. The rice mill has established 50 HP motors and installed 30 KVR capacitors as per the advice of the electricity authorities. On 13-1-2007 electricity authority changed the service of the rice mill from existing LT to HT and replaced HT meter in the place of old meter at DTR (Transformer). Later opposite party No.3 issued monthly consumption bill for January, 2007 in which Rs.7,403-75ps. was charged towards low power factor. Complainant did not pay the same. Again in February, 2007 bill an amount of Rs.15,865-63ps. was charged as power factor surcharges. Opposite parties informed the complainant that he should install additional 20 KVR capacitors to recover power factor and accordingly complainant had installed 20 KVR additional capacitors in first week of March, 2007.
There was fault either in HT meter or in DTR transformer. In March, 2007 another bill was issued claiming Rs.9,936-88 ps. towards power factor surcharges . But the complainant had not paid power factor surcharges claimed in February, 2007 and March, 2007 monthly bills. On 4-4-2007 opposite party No.4 removed the defective transformer and installed another transformer. Again this transformer was replaced by another transformer on 12-4-2007. It is further stated that the original transformer was defective. Opposite party NO.3 again levied Rs.5,274-54ps. towards power factor surcharge in monthly bill of April, 2007. Hence complaint is filed for a direction to the opposite parties to set aside monthly bills January, 2007, February, 2007, March, 2007 and April, 2007 in so far as power factor surcharges are concerned as illegal and pay compensation of Rs.1,00,000/- and costs of Rs.30,000/-.
2) Opposite party No.1 filed counter stating that the consumers of category No.IIIA provided with metering capables of measuring active and reactive power under orders of the commission shall be required to pay low power factor surcharge for the power factor obtaining during the months subject to the ceiling of the level of capacitor surcharge i.e, 25% of all bill amount. The low power surcharge is levied to category No.IIIA service as per the tariff order if the power factor falls below o.90. The power factor surcharge is to be levied on energy and demand charges including excess demand charge. Service connection of the complainant rice mill was provided with meter capable of measuring active and reactive power as per orders of APREC. Power factor means the ratio of Kilo Watt hours consumed in the months to Kilovolt hours registered during the month i.e, average demand for the months in K.Ws/maximum demand for months in K.Ws. As per terms and conditions of supply and as per the above said tariff order, CC bill along with power factor surcharge of Rs.7,403-75ps. levied in the month of February, 2007 as the power factor had fallen to below 0.85 and the complainant had paid only CC charges but not power factor surcharges. Again in March, 2007 CC bill was issued along with power factor surcharge of RS.15,865-63ps. as the power factor had fallen below 0.75. Power factor surcharge levied under CC charges as per terms and conditions of supply. Again in April and May, 2007 CC bills were issued with power factor surcharges of Rs.9,936-88ps., and Rs.5,274-56ps., as the power factor had fallen. It is further stated that there is no fault in HT meter or DTR or both. There is no default on departmental side either in HT meter or in the transformer. As per the representation of the complainant the premises, rice mill was inspected by the Assistant Divisional Engineer, Operation, Tekkali on 3-4-2007 and found that there was no fault in DTR or in Departmental equipments. However on verification of power factor, the existing transformer was changed with new one and observed that the power factor ratio falls against the service. There is no fault in existing capacitors. Power factor surcharge does not depend upon the capacitors. It was calculated on consumption. The ELR hours were also intimated to the complainant
and shortfall surcharge on power factor was levied on the consumption in the months / Ampere hours. The transformer was replaced with new one for the purpose of verification only but not on the ground of defect. After installation of new transformer there was variation in consumption and power factor for the months of April, 2007 and May, 2007 and power factor ratio had fallen and levied power factor surcharge as per consumption of the service connection in question. There is no deficiency in service on the part of the opposite parties.
Opposite party Nos.2 to 5 filed memo adopting the counter filed by opposite party No.1.
3) Both parties filed affidavits. Exs.A1 to A12 are marked on behalf of the complainant. Ex.B1 is marked on behalf of the opposite parties.
Heard both parties.
Point for consideration is:
Whether there is deficiency in service on the part of the opposite parties?
Complainant field affidavit with the same facts contained in the complaint. Opposite parties filed affidavit with the same facts contained in their counter. Ex.A1 is bill in which an amount of Rs.77,545/- was claimed. Ex.A2 is receipt for Rs.50,265/-. Ex.A3 is CC demand bill for February, 2007, for an amount of Rs.80,696/-. An amount of Rs.15,865-63ps. was claimed in this bill towards low power factor charges, but the complainant did not pay the same. Ex.A4 contained copies of demand drafts showing that the complainant had paid total an amount of Rs.64,470/- towards Ex.A3 bill. Ex.A5 is another bill in which an amount of Rs.51,434/- was claimed. Ex.A6 is copy of demand draft showing that the complainant paid RS.40,890/- towards Ex.A5 bill leaving Rs.9,936-88ps., towards low power factor charges. Ex.A7 is bill for Rs.28,627/- in which an amount of RS.5,274-56ps.. was claimed towards low power charges. Complainant did not pay the same. Ex.A8 is copy of notice dated 31-3-2007 issued by the complainant to opposite party No.1 stating that since changing of service from LT to HT (13-1-2007) many irregularities were found in meter readings. It was found that there was fault with the meter and transformer. Hence power factor was not achieved. Ex.A9 is another copy of notice dated 22-4-2007 issued by the complainant to opposite party No.1 stating that A.E., had investigated the problem and confirmed that the transformer was not functioning properly. The said transformer was replaced. Again this transformer was replaced. Ex.A10 is another copy of letter dated 28-4-2007 issued by the complainant to opposite party No.1 stating that on 28-4-2007 Assistant Engineer had approached to disconnect service connection of the complainant for non-payment of Rs.54,000/-.
5) It is the case of the complainant that due to defect in the meter and transformer, low power factor was the result in the complainant rice mill and the bills
issued for the months of January, 2007, February, 2007, March, 2007 and April, 2007 in respect of lower power factor surcharges have to be set aside. But the complainant has not adduced any evidence to show that low power factor was caused due to defect in the meter and transformer. There is no evidence to show that the meter and transformer were defect and there was fault in the meter and transformer. There is no basis to hold that charging amounts towards low power factor is illegal. Complainant has failed to prove deficiency in service on the part of the opposite parties in claiming low power factor surcharges in January, 2007, February, 2007, March, 2007 and April, 2007 bills. We therefore, hold that there is no deficiency in service on the part of the opposite parties. Hence we answer the point accordingly.
In the result, complaint is dismissed. No costs. Advocate’s fee is fixed at Rs.1,000/- (Rupees one thousand only). Interim order dated 3-5-2007 passed in I.A.No.128/2007 is vacated. Opposite parties are at liberty to disconnect power supply to the complainant rice mill for nonpayment of low power factor surcharges claimed in January, 2007, February, 2007, March, 2007 and April, 2007 CC bills.
Dictated to the Shorthand Writer, transcribed by him, corrected and pronounced by us in open Forum on this the 25th day of March, 2009.