Intro: The Ahmedabad based consumer group-CERShas triumphed in helping a consumer in having his electricity restored after 22 years. This happened after the original payment demand of Rs.3,12,206, was reduced by the electricity company to Rs.55,000. Here is what CERS says in a press release.
CERS Helps Consumer in Restoration of Electricity After 22 Years on payment of Rs. 55,000 from Original Dues of Rs.3,12,206.
Consumer Education and Research Society (CERS), Ahmedabad, recently helped a consumer get back the electricity connection to his industrial shed after 22 years and forced Torrent Power SEC Ltd., formerly Surat Electricity Company (SEC), to reduce the charges from Rs.3,12,206 to Rs.55,000.
Late Shantilal Jairambhai Patel of Surat was a consumer of Surat Electricity Company (SEC) since 1978. Patel owned an industrial shed and had given it on rent. SEC disconnected the power supply to the shed during 1983 as Patel had not paid penalty for power theft and energy charges amounting to Rs.12,370. Patel refused to pay the dues as the shed was deserted and the lease holder had disappeared. However, the SEC continued issuing electricity bills adding minimum charges and delayed payment charges from time to time. Being a monopoly power supplier, the SEC threatened to transfer the shed's power bill to Patel's residential service and warned of disconnecting the service, if he failed to pay the bill within a specific period. Patel had no option but to bring a stay order from the Gujarat High Court during 1997.
Meanwhile, Shantibhai Patel passed away and the financial condition of his family further deteriorated since his wife and son could not sell the shed without an electricity connection.
The SEC issued a notice to Bipinchandra Patel, son of late Shantibhai Patel in July 2004 demanding Rs.3,12,206/- as outstanding dues showing Rs.1,63,841 as energy charges and Rs.1,48,365 as delayed payment charges. The SEC also removed the meter and other equipment installed at the shed. Bipinchandra knocked at the doors of many organisations and individuals in Surat and Gujarat. Patel became a broken man, was shattered and developed various health problems. Finally, he approached CERS on 21 December 2004 and lodged a complaint against the SEC as the outstanding dues increased to more than Rs.4 lakh by 31 December 2004.
CERS wrote a letter to Chief Executive Officer of the SEC on 1 January 2005 demanding details of the case and questioned how an amount of Rs.12,370 had increased to Rs.3,12,206 in 22 years. The SEC replied stating that details of the case were being procured from the concerned department and expressed its readiness to explore the possibility of an amicable solution.
Bipinchandra Patel was in constant touch with CERS during the negotiations with the SEC now renamed as Torrent Power SEC Ltd. Finally with the intervention of CERS, the Torrent Power agreed to reduce the outstanding of Patel from Rs.3,12,206 to Rs. 55,000. TPSEC and Patel signed an agreement on 15 February 2005. The TPSEC asked Patel to withdraw the complaint from CERS and the long standing case in the Gujarat High Court. The complaint was resolved after 22 years and power supply to the industrial shed was also restored. The family members of late Shantibhai Patel were very much relieved and sent a letter of appreciation and thanks to CERS and Mr. K.K. Bajaj, Hon. Director who handled the complaint.