Go to suppliers' consumer forum: Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission tells consumers

Updated: 24 October, 2020 06:58 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

Says billing grievances need to be adjudicated by CGRF mechanism; consumers accused power companies of exorbitant bills during lockdown

This picture has been used for representational purposes
This picture has been used for representational purposes

Power consumers who have accused suppliers of billing them exorbitantly, will have to go to the company's (supplier's) Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF), instead of moving the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) to seek justice.

Giving directions while dismissing a petition moved by ex-MP Kirit Somaiya against the state-owned MahaVitaran (MSEDCL), the MERC asked the leader to take up other routes. He had filed the petition on behalf of all consumers in Mumbai and Maharashtra who received inflated bills July 2020 onwards. He had requested MERC's intervention to address the concern in the novel Coronavirus pandemic, when consumers are financially stressed.

Approach the CGRF

MahaVitaran contended that the PIL cannot be decided by the commission as per the past judgments of the Supreme Court and Appellate Tribunals. It said billing related grievances need to be adjudicated by the CGRF mechanism constituted under the Electricity Act. Somaiya argued that his prayer be treated as a public appeal.

Citing past judgments and instances before the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission, which also dismissed a PIL, MERC said it found no reason to entertain these appeals. However, the Commission directed the licensees/distribution companies to hear the complaints and decide whether the supplementary/amended bills issued by them were proper.

The order means a relief for all four distribution companies which were at the receiving end for issuing inflated bills for the lockdown period of three months. The consumption was metered but the meter readings were not taken. The companies billed consumers based on the average consumption and adjusted the amount in next billing cycles. However, countless complaints were made, accusing the companies of billing closed establishments.

Following complaints of overbilling, the MERC had directed distribution utilities to give consumers a facility to pay in three equated monthly instalments. It had asked the companies to be more transparent in billing and gear up for redressing consumer grievances within a day of their receipt.

The commission had also justified higher bills saying that they were raised on actual meter readings for the summer months when the consumption was normally higher and costlier than the winter months billing, which was used for average billing for the lockdown period.

Keep scrolling to read more news

Catch up on all the latest Mumbai news, crime news, current affairs, and a complete guide from food to things to do and events across Mumbai. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates.

Mid-Day is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@middayinfomedialtd) and stay updated with the latest news

First Published: 24 October, 2020 07:01 IST

Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.com

Subscribe
loading image
This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK