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Power suppliers can be taken to consumer court

Power suppliers can be dragged to consumer court if you find any deficiency or fault in service, reports Satya Prakash.
Hindustan Times | By Satya Prakash, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 03, 2008 01:34 AM IST

You have the right to drag the firm supplying power to your home to the consumer court if you find any deficiency or fault in service. The national consumer court recently ruled that a power consumer is a consumer as defined under Section 2(1)(o) of the Consumer Protection Act, and such complaints are maintainable under the Act.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission’s ruling came 7 months after the Supreme Court asked it to examine whether consumer courts have jurisdiction to deal with such complaints after the enactment of the Electricity Act, 2003.

The Electricity Act allowed setting up of special courts, and the suppliers had said jurisdiction of civil courts is excluded under this law. They had argued that issues like unauthorised use of electricity and meter tampering were of technical nature, which could not be decided by consumer courts.

But National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission chairman Justice M.B. Shah and member Rajyalakshmi Rao ruled: “The jurisdiction of the consumer forums is not barred by any provision of the Electricity Act.” Consumer courts can entertain complaints against final orders of assessing officers under Section 126 of the Electricity Act. But they can’t interfere with criminal proceedings or the final order passed by a special court set up under the power law.

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