The UT electricity department has challenged the decision of the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission's (JERC) not to take punitive action against domestic category consumers who use more than their declared load of power.
The move hold significance as the decision of the JERC had put a hurdle in the efforts of the electricity department to check wastage. There are nearly 2.5 lakh consumers in different categories in the UT. Of these, 1.75 lakh fall in the domestic category, but only about 6,000 have declared their load.
UT electricity department superintending engineer MP Singh said the decision of the JERC was "totally irrational" as the majority of the consumers in Chandigarh fall under the domestic category and they were the ones who had not declared loads. "We have challenged the decision and our appeal will soon be heard by the JERC," said MP Singh.
Earlier this year, the JERC had issued an order stating: "If connected load of a domestic category is found to be at variance of the sanctioned/contracted load as a result of increase of load replacement of lamps, fans, fuses, switches, low voltage domestic fittings, etc, it shall neither fall under unauthorised use of electricity as per Electricity Act (EA) 2003 nor under theft of electricity (section 135 of EA 2003)."
Earlier, the electricity department treated domestic consumers who used load in excess of the sanction load as unauthorised. It also served notices to them under section 126 of EA 2003, asking them to get their connections regularised by completing the requisite formalities. It also warned of fine up to four times the tariff as levied on the declared load.
Over the years, due to non-declaration of actual load, the department has not been able to properly plan electricity demand, leading to erratic supply. The department is also facing the problem of overloading of transformers, which trip frequently.
A recent study by Powergrid revealed that in emergency situations, some of the system elements get critically loaded and therefore there was a need to strengthen the transmission system at various points in Chandigarh.