After facing Consumer Grievances Redressal Forum’s (CGRF) wrath for hearing appeals without any authority, the UT electricity department has finally designated sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) and additional deputy commissioner (ADC) as the appellate authorities for redressing appeals of aggrieved consumers penalised for using more electricity than sanctioned.
As per the Electricity Act, 2003, the licensee is not authorised to act as an appellate authority to hear appeals under Section 127 of the Act of any person aggrieved by the final order made by an assessing officer under Section 126 of the Act.
Despite clearly laying down the rules, the UT electricity department had appointed its officials of executive engineer rank as the appellate authority for hearing appeals. CGRF, a central agency, termed it as an unfair practice and had directed them to appoint officials from outside the department as the appellate authority.
Following the directions, the electricity department on Jun 11 appointed SDMs of respective jurisdictions as the appellate authority for consumers falling in domestic agriculture, commercial (up to 50KW of sanctioned load) and small power supply category. While ADC has been empowered to redress grievances of domestic supply, agriculture (above 500 KW of sanctioned load), medium and large supply category.
UT superintending engineer MP Singh said: “The decision has been taken to ensure fair treatment to aggrieved consumers.”
Consumers, who use excessive load than sanctioned are treated as unauthorised users and are served notices under Section 126 of the Electricity Act, 2003, asking them to get their connections regularised by completing the requisite formalities.
There are nearly 2.5 lakh consumers falling under different categories, of which 1.75 lakh fall in the domestic category, but only about 6,000 users have declared their load. Over the years, due to non-declaration of actual load, the department is facing the problem of overloading of transformers.
To address the problem of overloading, the electricity department has been directed by the joint electricity regulatory commission (JERC) to conduct a detailed load forecasting study for short term (2-5 years), medium term (7-10 years) and long term (15-25 years) use in order to understand the load requirements in their area at various periods. To conduct the study, the department has initiated a move to appoint consultant for load forecasting.