Staff Reporter

High Court passes this order on a case involving BESCOM and an association

BANGALORE: In a decision of far reaching consequences, the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday held that the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Council (KERC) had no jurisdiction to entertain any dispute between a consumer and a supply company.

Landmark order

Justice K.L. Manjunath passed the landmark order when he was deciding a case between the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) and the Mittal Towers Commercial Complex Owners’ Association of M.G. Road.

BESCOM had filed the petition in the High Court after the association approached the KERC for relief against an order of BESCOM asking it to pay back billing charges of Rs. 1.75 lakh.

In its petition, BESCOM said that in 1997, the association availed of power supply with a sanctioned load of 85 HP. On December 2, 1998, Relay Testing Staff of BESCOM inspected the unit and found that the association had unauthorisedly connected a load of 135 HP. The assistant executive engineer exercised power under Regulation 44.1 of the Electricity Act and preferred back billing charges of Rs. 1.75 lakh.

It said instead of filing objections to the back billing demand notice, the association filed an appeal before the Appellate Authority. When the authority dismissed the appeal, the association filed a second appeal. The association then moved the KERC after it was formed. The KERC, in its order, had quashed the order of the authority and directed BESCOM to refund the back billing charges or adjust it to bills.

BECOM said that the KERC had no authority or jurisdiction to entertain such disputes under Sections 20, 19, 21 and 29 of the KERC (G and C) of the Regulations, 2003. It urged the court to stay the KERC order.

Mr. Justice Manjunath accepted the contentions of BECOM and held that the KERC did not have any jurisdiction to adjudicate disputes between a consumer and a supply company under provision 86 (F) of the Electricity Act.