Chitra V. Ramani

Bangalore: Consumers coming under the jurisdiction of Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) now have a reason to worry. The utility’s insurance to cover its consumers’ assets (electrical and electronic goods) expired around three months ago.

A senior BESCOM official, on condition of anonymity, told The Hindu that the insurance cover was for around Rs. 25 lakh and the utility was paying Rs. 24,000 as premium every year. “Our insurance policy was with one of the reputed insurance agencies. We are trying to renew it, but we have had a few problems with regard to the terms and conditions,” he said.

Another official said that the utility had some problems getting the claims cleared from the insurance agency. “We are a public utility and have to cater to our consumers. However, despite our efforts, we faced problems in getting some claims cleared. The insurance agency asked for too many documents,” the official said. Talks were on with the insurance agency to work out a renewal plan. “It is not that we claimed more than the insured amount. Actually, last year the claims came to only about Rs. 26,000. Hopefully, we will have a policy in place soon,” the official added.

BESCOM is probably one of the first public utilities to introduce insurance cover not just for its own assets and employees’ but also for the assets of consumers.

M.G. Prabhakar of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry said that consumers now have various forums to get their grievances redressed. Consumers may approach the utility directly, or go through the grievance redressal cell. If all these options have been explored, then the consumer may seek compensation through the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission, he said.

He said that any insurance claim in India is a long and cumbersome process. He also said that the five electricity supply companies in the State could pool in their money and set up an insurance company.