A Thane consumer disputes redressal commission has pulled up the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd. (MSEDCL) for the “casual approach” of its officials towards the genuine grievances of its consumers.
The consumer had been receiving inflated bills due to a faulty meter for years and had ended up paying Rs. Rs. 66,820 in around two years and still had an outstanding of Rs. 1,31,720 at the time of filing of the complaint before the commission in 2016.
It also directed MSEDCL to pay Rs. 25,000 in compensation to him for mental agony and harassment and Rs. 10,000 in costs, apart from directing it to replace the faulty meter and correct the bills since June 2014 till it replaces the meter and not charge interest for late payment.
“On perusal of record, we found that since June 2014, the complainant is constantly approaching MSEDCL to replace the faulty meter and to issue correct bills. But the officials of MSEDCL did not pay heed to the requests made by the complainant time and again,”it said.
The commission noted that MSEDCL is a leading company in the power sector in the state and not attending the genuine complaints for years together despite constant correspondences and requests by consumers cannot be appreciated in any manner.
It stated that the undertaking’s representatives appeared before it on two occasions, in which on one occasion they filed a written statement, but that thereafter, no one appeared from MSEDCL before it to attend further proceedings in the matter. This, it said, clearly shows the casual approach of its officials towards the grievances of their customers as also towards the proceedings towards this forum.
Mumbra resident Dr. Mohd. Firoz Shaikh had approached the commission in end-2016 as he had been receiving excessive bills due to a faulty meter since June-2014. He had made repeated complaints to the undertaking to rectify the meter or replace it. He had also sought that a parallel meter be installed to cross-check the reading, but the officials only justified the correctness of the meter’s reading and repeatedly told him to pay the inflated bills.
In June 2015, he had received a bill of Rs. 19,520. His request to rectify the bill was turned down. In May the next year, he had received an even higher bill of Rs. 23,377.
After admission of Shaikh’s complaint before the commission, the MSEDCL had reduced the outstanding bill from Rs. 1,31,720 to Rs. 50,440 by reducing Rs. 81,280. The commission observed regarding this that the suo-moto reduction of bill by a huge amount proved that the allegations made by Shaikh were correct regarding the faulty meter and excessive bills.