At, Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Thiruvananthapuram
By, JUSTICE SRI.K.R.UDAYA BHANU: PRESIDENT
By, SMT. VALSALA SARANGADHARAN: MEMBER
For the Appearing Parties: B. Sakthidharan Nair, Advocate.
SMT. VALSALA SARANGADHARAN : MEMBER
This appeal has been preferred against the order dated 30/7/04 of CDRF, Thrissur in OP No.896/03. The appellants herein were the opposite parties and the complainant / respondent filed the complaint to get the enhanced meter rent reduced to the original rent whereby the Forum directed the opposite pa
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ties not to realise more than Rs.40/- bimonthly as meter rent and to refund or adjust the excess meter rent received before 1/1/04. 2. The fact of the case is that the complainant is a consumer of the opposite parties and was paying Rs.40/- as bimonthly meter rent and on 26/4/03 the meter was replaced and Rs.150/- was charged as bimonthly meter rent. In order to avoid disconnection the complainant paid the amount under protest. According to the complainant the opposite parties have no right to increase the meter rent. Hence he filed complaint before the Forum.3. The opposite parties in their version contended that the enhancement of rent is fixed by the Board and that the rent was enhanced Rs.150/- on the basis of the capacity of meter. As per B.O.(FB)No.669/2002 (Plg.Com.3809/99) dated 9.5.02 the bimonthly rent of meter having capacity of above 30 amps. is fixed as Rs.150/-. Hence the rent was enhanced to Rs.150/- on replacement of the meter. According to the opposite parties now as per the B.O.No.2142/03 (Plg.Com.3809/99) dated 24.12.03 the bimonthly rent is fixed as Rs.40 irrespective of the capacity of meter with effect from 1/1/04 and that from 1.1.04 the complainant was charged only Rs.20 per month. They further contended that the K.S.E.B is empowered to collect rental charges notified from time to time in exercise of powers conferred by the Section 79 (J) of the Electricity (Supply) Act 1948 (Central Act, 54) 1948 and the meter rent charged to the consumer were as per existing orders or the KSEB.4. We have heard for the counsel for the appellants/opposite parties. There was no representation for the respondent/complainant. During the course of argument the learned counsel for the appellant reiterated the respective stand taken before the lower Forum. The order reducing the rent to Rs.20 per month irrespective of the capacity of the meter came into existence from 1/1/04 and prior to that date the complainant was liable to pay rent at the rate in existence ie; the complainant was liable to pay Rs.150 as bimonthly rental charge for the disputed period. 5. It is to be noted that the rent was enhanced to Rs.150/- for the meters having the capacity above 30 amps as per Board Order dated 9/5/02 and it was reduced to Rs.40/- with effect from 1/1/04 irrespective of the capacity of the meter as per Board Order dated 24/12/03 and these facts were not considered by the Forum below. It can also be seen that the appellants/opposite parties have collected the rent only according to the orders prevailing at the relevant periods and so we are of the view that the officials of KSEB can be justified in issuing a bill on the basis of the rate at that time as the rent was reduced to Rs.20 per month only with effect from 1/1/04. Hence the Forum cannot be justified in ordering not to realise more than Rs.40/- bimonthly as meter rent and to refund or adjust the excess rent received before 1/1/04 on the ground of deficiency of service on their part. In the result the impugned order dated 30/7/04 passed by the CDRF, Trissur in OP No.896/03 is set aside and the appeal is allowed. There shall be no order as to cost.