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80-yr-old wins compensation for ‘unjust’ disconnection of supply

P V K Reddy,80,of Bhandarkar Road has won a battle against the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd...

Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune |
April 28, 2009 1:21:22 am

P V K Reddy,80,of Bhandarkar Road has won a battle against the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL),which he accused of humiliating him by snapping supply to his house without proper notice. The Pune District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed MSEDCL to pay Rs 15,000 as compensation and slammed it for treating him as a defaulter.

The two-year battle began on January 23,2007,when the MSEDCL snapped the connection to the house where Reddy lives with his wife and daughter.

“I paid the bill of Rs 10,000 the next day and supply was restored,” he said. “But they had no right to cut supply without 15 days’ notice. Also,I was not in arrears. Of the Rs 10,000 bill,I had already paid Rs 6,000 by cheque. If a consumer has not paid any amount above Rs 5,000,only then is he a defaulter. My outstanding was Rs 4,000; how could I be a defaulter?”

Reddy said he had been pointing out to MSEDCL officials that meter readings,consumption values and accounting were wrong. “They paid no heed,handed over a wrong bill and then went ahead and snapped supply,” he said.

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Reddy filed an application with the Kasba Peth office of MSEDCL,which referred him to the Senapati Bapat Road office. “Here they told me I should pay the bill and then protest,” Reddy said. An angry Reddy moved the consumer forum in April 2007.

The forum first gave two ex-parte orders in favour of Reddy,in July and October 2007. It asked the MSEDCL not to cut supply to Reddy and to collect charges excluding the disputed amount.

In its final order on April 17,a two-member bench of forum president Pradip Gaikwad and member Sulbha Joshi said,“The facts go to show that the complainant was and is ready and willing to pay consumption charges. He cannot be termed a defaulter.”

The forum said the MSEDCL is perpetually restrained from disconnecting the electricity supply to the complainant without proper notice. The MSEDCL has also been asked to pay Rs 15,000 as compensation to Reddy in two months,failing which it will have to pay interest at 9 per cent per annum.

The forum is about 6 km from Reddy’s home. “I spent nearly Rs 100 each time I travelled to Bibvewadi,” said Reddy,retired from FTII as assistant professor.

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