Balangir, May 7: The District Consumer Dispute and Redressal Forum (CDRF) of Balangir has come down heavily on Western Electricity Supply Company (Wesco) for harassing a consumer. Acting on a complaint by one Prafulla Kumar Sahu, a local hotel owner, the consumer body has ordered an official of Wesco to pay Rs 5,000 as compensation to Sahu for harassing him mentally and financially.
Sahu had alleged that the executive engineer (electrical), Wesco, Balangir, SDO (electrical), sub-division No.1 and assistant manager (vigilance) were harassing him by issuing him penalties for no fault of his.
In the complaint on June 6, 2009, Sahu said that an inspection party of Wesco inspected the electricity meter of the hotel and submitted a copy of the inspection report to his brother which said that the meter of the hotel was okay. “The report further stated that the inspecting party had broken the seal to open the meter but had not re-sealed the same after inspection,” Sahu said in his complaint.
On September 2, 2009 Sahu said he received a letter saying that the inspection party had found the seal of the meter broken during their inspection. Based on the inspection of the report, he was slapped with a penalty of Rs 19,858.17.
“After receiving the letter, I wrote back to them They did not considered my letter but sent me another bill of Rs 20, 206.17 paise. I made several visits to the Wesco office, but no one was willing to listen to me. Rather, I was told that they would disconnect power supply to the hotel,” Sahu said.
Wesco authorities, in their reply, maintained that Sahu was not regular in paying the electricity bills and also said that the meter seal was broken.
The president of the consumer forum found that the WESCO authorities had not provided any document to support their contention while Sahu provided several documents.
In its order, the consumer forum said: “From materials available on record we find that the Wesco authorities have played mischief by adding meter seal broken in the subsequent inspection report supplied with the penalty amount thereby incurring financial harassment.”
The forum ordered the Wesco authorities to waive the penalty amount and pay Rs 5,000 to the complainant as compensation and litigation cost within one month. The forum ordered the executive engineer to realise the compensation amount from the salary of Wesco, Balangir, assistant manager (vigilance) P. Mahapatra.