Requests complainants to approach Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum
The Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) has said it is not the right authority to deal with consumer complaints such as delay in provision of new service connections, defective meters, incorrect billing and erratic power supply.
According to S.Gunasekaran, Secretary, TNERC, the Commission is being flooded with such complaints from consumers from various parts of the State though it does not have any statutory power to redress such common grievances. He pointed out that Section 42 of the Electricity Act - 2003 provided for establishment of Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF) in every electricity distribution circle, apart from an ombudsman at the State level.
They were the right fora to approach with consumer grievances.
The TNERC’s role was limited to fixing standards of performance for the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) and setting time limits for provision of new service connections, replacement of defective meters, restoration of disrupted power supply and so on.
If the Tangedco officials did not comply with the norms laid down by the TNERC, the consumers could first lodge a complaint with the CGRF concerned. The CGRF should issue a receipt for the complaint within seven days and pass orders on it within two months, he pointed out.
Mr.Gunasekaran said if the consumers were not satisfied with the decisions of the forum or if they did not get any reply within two months from the date of filing complaint, they could go in appeal before the Electricity Ombudsman in the TNERC office in Chennai within 30 days.
The CGRF, in every electricity distribution circle, was chaired by Tangedco’s Superintending Engineer. Complaints to the forum could be lodged even through e-mail, he noted.
Thereafter, either the complainant or their representative must appear before the forum whenever he or she was called for and represent his or her grievances.
The forum would also summon the officials concerned for seeking an explanation before taking a decision on the matter, he added. When contacted, M.Balasubramanian, Superintending Engineer (Madurai Metro), said a CGRF, chaired by him and comprising a lawyer and a consumer forum representative as its members, had been functioning for long but it was not receiving many complaints due to a lack of public awareness.
He also said a similar CGRF headed by Superintending Engineer S.Eswarasubramanian was functioning for redressing consumer grievances in rural parts of the district.
Consumers in Madurai Metro Circle could lodge their complaints through firstname.lastname@example.org and those in rural parts could lodge them through email@example.com
They could also hand over the complaints at the offices of the Superintending Engineers at K.Pudur here, he noted.
On the other hand, A.Raja, a resident of Tiruppalai, said a large number of consumers were forwarding their grievances to the TNERC only because they were fed up with the lack of prompt response to complaints lodged with the CGRF.
“As per norms, every complaint lodged with the CGRF should be disposed of through a written order within two months. It means that CGRF meets should be convened at least once in a month so that the complaints lodged in that month could be grouped and disposed of on time. However, the CGRF meetings in many distribution circles are convened only once in three months,” he claimed.