Tamil Nadu

Tangedco told to find alternative for consumption assessment

The ombudsman cited situations when assessment can’t be made due to factors beyond Tangedco’s contro  

The Tamil Nadu Electricity Ombudsman has asked Tangedco to suggest an appropriate method to calculate electricity bills in case it is unable to make assessments of consumption due to factors like continuous holidays and non-availability of staff. It asked the power utility to suggest appropriate changes to the supply code through its review panel.

In case an assessment cannot be made on a particular day due to factors beyond its control, Tangedco could suggest the number of days that can be taken into account for calculation of consumption charges, and an amendment to the supply code so that the consumer and the utility don’t suffer losses, it noted.

Petitioner’s case

The order was passed on a petition filed by Poongavanam from Villupuram, who said that during the assessment period in March 2020, her electricity consumption was recorded as 15,950 units. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, in May 2020, the usage was assessed based on the previous month’s consumption (PMC).

In July 2020, the assessment recorded was 16,970 units, and the two-month consumption was assessed at 1,020 units (510 units a month). Based on the applicable slab, the bill came to ₹1,846 for 510 units. For two months, she was asked to pay ₹3,012, after deducting the ₹680 paid during the PMC calculation month.

Ms. Poongavanam pointed out that for July, the assessment was made on July 10 instead of July 7 and hence, three days had been added while calculating the consumption charges. As a result, she said, instead of assessing the consumption from March 7, 2020, to July 7, 2020, for 122 days, the calculation was made for 125 days.

Because of this, her consumption went above 500 units and she was not able to get government subsidy. Had the assessment been made on July 7, the consumption would have come to 498 units, and she could have availed herself of the subsidy, the petitioner said.

Claiming that she paid an additional ₹1,272, Ms. Poongavanam sought a refund of the amount, besides compensation as per the rules for Tangedco not responding to her request to reduce the tariff within 10 days.

In its reply, Tangedco said the consumption charges were calculated on a two-month billing cycle as per the prescribed rates, and there was no provision to calculate the charges on a proportionate basis.

S. Devarajan, the Electricity Ombudsman, noted that the grievance faced by the customer in an extraordinary situation, like COVID-19, had also been caused during normal circumstances to others, and said Tangedco had to suggest suitable amendments to the supply code to address such grievances.

He ruled that due to the extraordinary situation the customer’s grievance for refund cannot be accepted and told Tangedco to pay a compensation of ₹250 for not responding to the customer’s petition.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 8:54:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tangedco-told-to-find-alternative-for-consumption-assessment/article34321481.ece

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