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Consumer forum orders TSSPDCL to pay Rs. 25,000 compensation
The Hindu, June 8, 2019

Power company had asked Golconda resident to clear arrears on former house owner’s bills

Nearly four years after a woman, who bought a house in Golconda, was asked by the TSSPDCL to pay arrears on power bill owed by the previous owner, a consumer forum has directed the power company’s officers to pay compensation of Rs. 25,000 finding it guilty of indulging in unfair trade practices.

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum Hyderabad-II was dealing with a complaint filed by Nawaz Fathima (48), a resident of Risala Bazaar in Golconda. She said that she bought the house from a man named Syed Mubeen Ashraf. A service meter was already installed at the time of sale and all bills were paid.

In February 2015, she applied for installation of three meters for which she she paid Rs.7,200. The TSSPDCL allocated meters in the same month. However, despite several reminders, those were not installed. The TSSPDCL later sent a letter stating that the meters cannot be installed as a power theft case was registered against the existing one.

On their part, the respondents — Superintending Engineer, Assistant Divisional Engineer and Divisional Engineer — stated that arrears were recorded on the existing meter and claimed it was used to supply power to a restaurant running on the same premises. They reiterated that a theft case has been registered against hotel owner Mohd Khaleel Ahmed Khan under Sections 135 and 138 of the Electricity Act and that complainant is liable to pay the arrears.

Taking evidence provided into consideration, the forum described TSSPDCL’s reasons for not installing the three meters as “untenable”. Apart from compensation, the forum directed the respondents to pay Rs.5,000 as costs.

An additional Rs. 10,000 penalty may also be imposed if the respondents fail to comply with the order.

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