A consumer forum recently pulled up the Maharshtra State Electricity Division (MSED) and one of its franchisee for 'mentally torturing' a Bhiwandi resident by sending him incorrect bills which were grossly disproportionate to his electricity consumption for more than three years.
The Thane district consumer dispute redressal forum directed the two parties to pay Rs 15,000 to the complainant as compensation towards his mental agony and litigation costs.
Niyaz Ahmed Momin, who owned a small 90 sq ft room in Bhiwandi which he hardly used. "Since I used to visit the room only once in a while, my monthly bill would not exceed Rs 100."
Problems arose in October 2005, when the MSED sent him a bill which mentioned a meter reading of 2599 instead of 2328. Momin immediately wrote an application to the MSED, asking for a verification of the bill, but no action was taken.
After a few months, Momin approached the MSED and asked them to correct the fault. An MSED official directed him to Rs 1,800 out of the shown arrears (Rs 5,550), and said that the arrears would be cleared. Momin paid the amount.
The problem came up again in 2008, when a firm named Torrent Power Ltd, took the franchise of MSED, and replaced Momin's old electric meter with a new one. "Despite what the MSED official said, the arrears was not cleared and were carried forward by the new electricity distributor. When I approached them, they refused to entertain my complaint, rather kept on increasing the interest on the arrears amount," said Momin.
The firm however claimed that it was not at fault and that it had evidence to prove it. The forum directed the firms to file their replies. After going through the evidence, the forum found the two firms guilty of providing faulty services.