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MSEDCL ordered to pay 35,000 to techie for extorting excess bills

The Pune district consumer redressal forum on Friday directed the MSEDCL, Pune authorities to pay 35,000 to a techie for extorting excess bills
By Nadeem Inamdar, Pune
PUBLISHED ON JUN 19, 2021 09:20 PM IST

The Pune district consumer redressal forum on Friday directed the MSEDCL, Pune authorities to pay 35,000 to a techie for extorting excess bills. The power utility has also been directed to refund the excess bill amount paid. A consumer complaint was filed under section 12 of consumer protection act, 1986, by Sumit Jolly an individual consumer alleging deficiency in service rendered to the complainant by the service provider.

Jolly, a Haryana-based resident, who lived in Mundhwa, had moved the consumer forum in 2017 complaining that the MSEDCL neither rectified the bills nor refund any excess payment. The MSEDCL had cut the electricity connection to his flat nine times forcing him to pay the exorbitant bills.

According to the complaint, Jolly’s 2BHK rented flat in a housing society has a three-phase connection. There is a single CFL in each room, four ceiling fans, one refrigerator, and one oven in the kitchen, one flat TV of 45” in the bedroom, one washing machine of 6.5 kgs and

one geyser in the bathroom, 1.5-ton AC in the master bedroom. The complainant is residing with his wife and one child. He and his wife work as software engineers. They leave the flat at 8.30 am and come back at 8.30 pm.

The complainant paid the electricity bills continuously from February 2011 till March 2012, thereafter for the month of April 2012 to September 2012; he did not receive the bills. Meanwhile, in October 2012, he received a bill of 49,060.

According to the forum, until march 2012, there was a variation in the amount of bills such as in the month February 2012 the bill was 350 (62 units), in March 2012 the bill was 2,954.82 including 2,600 arrears. The complainant also produced record receipts of 35,000 dated November 6, 2012, 10,000 dated January 10, 2013, 10,000 dated October 24, 2013, 10,950 dated March 28, 2014 issued by MSEDCL.

The bills issued in April, May, June, July, August, September of 2012 were issued exorbitantly without clarification of calculation and it amounts to deficiency in service. Even after receiving notice from the forum, MSEDCL did not file its version.

The order stated that not only the opposite parties received notices of this commission, but opposite parties did not appear before this commission, hence this commission passed ex-parte order against opposite parties on July 24, 2018.

Opposite parties received notices of interim order. Upon receipt of notice of interim order, Anand Katkar, additional executive engineer remains present before the commission, on Oct 16, 2018, on behalf of opposite parties, but opposite parties neither filed any say to interim application of complainants nor filed application for setting aside ex-parte order against them.

The opposite parties also did not file revision petition before the state commission for setting aside ex-parte order against them even after having them the knowledge of expert order against them. From this conduct of opposite parties, adverse inference can be drawn that there is deficiency in service on the part of opposite parties and we have to rely on contentions raised in evidence affidavit of the complainant, the order stated.

The forum president Umesh Jawalikar, members Sangeeta Deshmukh and Kshitija Kulkarni directed MSEDCL to scrutinize the meter, bills, electricity supply/flow in the flat, the usage and accordingly the rectification/alteration be made regarding electricity supply, electricity meter and bills.

The order further states after rectification /alteration in regard to electricity supply/ electricity meter in the said flat, MSEDCL shall award average bills comparing bills issued in the month of Dec 10, 2012 to Dec 2, 2013 excluding exorbitant bills dated May 5, 2013 and Aug 2, 2013. If the complainant had made excess payment in regard to average bills, MSEDCL must refund the excess amount to the complainant. The forum then directed MSEDCL to pay 35,000 towards physical and economical agony.

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