Many hardly aware of consumer-friendly clauses in Citizen's Charter of APCPDCL

How many power consumers know that they are entitled for a compensation of Rs.25 per day, if their complaint about wrong billing is not solved within seven days? Or that resumption of supply following a disconnection due to non-payment of bills should be within four days after producing proof of payment?

Apparently, not many consumers know about such clauses being provided in the Citizen's Charter of the Central Power Distribution Company of A.P. Limited (APCPDCL).

Compensation paid

During the last 10 months since the formation of Consumer Grievances Redressal Forum for Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts, only five complainants were awarded compensation, which amounted to a total of Rs.49,950. In the rest of the CPDCL, the number stands only at 18.

In Hyderabad, compensation was awarded to a consumer in Srinagar Colony for change of connection to ‘Commercial' category without notification. Another case in Byramalguda pertained to wrong implication of the consumer in theft case and the billing thereof. The other cases pertained to faulty meter reading.

Issues are usually brought to CGRF's notice only in case of major inconvenience. However, it escapes the notice of many that the company can be challenged even in smaller cases, for instance, a blown fuse. The company must address the issue of a blown fuse within four working hours, or pay Rs.50 to the complainant.

In case of multiple consumers, it should pay Rs.25 per head. If an underground cable breaks down, the company must fix it within 12 hours or pay Rs.25 to each consumer affected. Failure to fix a distribution transformer within 48 hours in the rural areas could prove costlier for the company. For each day of default, the complainant should be paid Rs.100, or if more than one consumer is affected, Rs.50 each.

Replacement of meters, if requested, should be fulfilled within seven days in cities and towns and within 15 days in rural areas, failure of which will penalise the company by Rs.50 for each day of default.

In case of voltage fluctuations, if no expansion or enhancement of the network is involved, the complaint should be resolved within 10 days, failure of which will result in Rs.50 penalty for each day of default. In case of upgradation of distribution system, the time limit is 120 days, exceeding which, the company is liable to pay Rs.100 for each day of default. In case of individual consumers, the penalty amounts will be Rs.25 and Rs.50 respectively.

CPDCL officials themselves agree that consumers' lack of awareness is saving their skin, because it is also a norm to recover the penalty amount from the salaries of the officials responsible.

“The time lapse will be counted from the day the consumer lodges a complaint in the nearest Customer Service Centre for which he will be given an acknowledgement. While a lot many consumers came to us complaining about problems such as low voltage, few could establish the company's lapse by registering a complaint through proper procedure,” said Narayan Reddy, the Member (Finance) of the CGRF.