Permanent Lok Adalat (Public Utility Services), SAS Nagar, has directed Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to pay Rs 50,000 compensation for “mental harassment” caused to a resident of Kheri Jattan village resident after the company accused him of stealing power and disconnected his commercial electricity connection.
Dismissing a notice issued by the sub-divisional officer and executive engineer of PSPCL, Lalru, to Jagdish Singh the Permanent Lok Adalat headed by Jagroop Singh Mahal also directed the company to pay `10,000 towards litigation costs. However, if the company restores Singh’s electricity supply within 15 days, it would not be liable to pay the compensation, the order said.
In August 2012, Singh’s electricity meter had burned out due to a technical fault, which the company replaced. However, on December 3, 2013, the company issued a notice which stated that the company, upon checking the previous meter, found that Singh had committed power theft by tampered with the meter. The notice told Singh to pay `47,903 and cut his power supply when he refused to comply. The forum, in their order, said there was no evidence that Singh had tampered with the meter.
“The meter was removed in Singh’s absence. It was not put in a box (by the company) nor was it jointly sealed or signed by the applicant. Moreover, the ME Lab did not issue any notice to the applicant about the date of testing as required under the Electricity Manual and Regulations. The meter remained with the officials for more than one year,” the order said, adding that the company failed to produce officials’ affidavits affirming that the meter was tampered with. The order said the company also failed to lodge a police complaint of the theft, failing to prove its case. The order came after efforts to reach a compromise between the parties failed. Singh, meanwhile, has also been given an option of recovering the compensation from officials at fault.