Electricity Meter Overcharging — Legal Option Available

The electricity meter measures the amount of energy consumption, maximum demand and other electrical parameters of applicable tariffs and is used to determine the monthly bill by the distribution companies. However, due to some technical fault or malafide tampering with the meter by the distribution companies or their agents, the meter may show more energy consumption than the actual one. This overcharging is in violation of the provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003.

Rights of Consumers in regards to Electricity Meters

· Conditions and Procedure for getting a new connection, disconnection, reconnection, change in load or name or tariff;

· Correctness of meters;

· Tariff schedule and other schedule of charges;

· Consumers can purchase meters from the distribution company or any certified meter supplier by the Central Electricity Authority;

· Consumers can get their meter tested for accuracy of reading by making a request to the distribution company and upon payment of testing charges;

· Consumers also have the right to receive such test report within two months from the date of request for testing;

· Right to receive original bills;

· Right to receive a rationalization of the basis of calculation of the bill.

Consumer Service Centre

To get any information or to lodge complaint in regards to any matter such as “overcharging on electricity meters”, consumers under the Electricity Act, 2003 can personally visit or communicate with the Consumer Service Centres established by the Electricity Distribution Companies.

Important Things to Remember

· Make a representation before the State Electricity Board to affix a new meter;

· Before disconnecting the electricity supply, 15 days prior notice has to be given in writing to the consumer;

· File a complaint for overcharging on electricity meter before the Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum;

· Consumer can make a demand for the copies of the rules and regulations for redressal of grievances while paying for photocopy charges;

· Consumer can also demand the postal address, e-mail, telephone numbers and fax of the Internal Grievance Redressal Cells, Consumer Grievance Redressal Forums and Electricity Ombudsman;

· If the problem is not resolved by the Forum, a writ for mandamus before the High Court is the next option.

Statutory Law References

Sec. 42 & 56 of the Electricity Act, 2003

Landmark Judgments

Western Electricity Supply Co. of Orissa Ltd & Ors. v. M/s Baba Baijanath Roller and Flour Mill P. Ltd. CIVIL APPEAL No . 4023 of 2014 (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) №3396 of 2011)

M/S.Godrej & Boyce Mfg.Co.Ltd vs The Deputy Chief Engineer WP(C).№1945 of 2011(P) (Kerala HC)

N. Mohamed Kani v. The Secretary W.P.№24536 of 2013 (Madras HC)