Bescom asked to pay for consumer’s goods damage
The landmark order may force power supply companies to monitor their power voltage
Setting a precedence in handling cases related to maintaining power supply standards, the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission has directed Bescom to pay a compensation of Rs 32,935 to a Bangalore-based NGO for damages caused to its computer and UPS due to voltage fluctuation.
The order, the power experts observe, will put power companies under pressure to ensure proper supply standards, otherwise they may have to provide huge amounts of compensation to consumers in case of faulty service.
The Environmental Support Group of Jayanagar had written a letter to the Commission alleging that its computer and UPS had been damaged following sudden fluctuation in power supply on June 6. The Group had sought a compensation of Rs 32,935.
The commission converted the letter into a petition and took up the case suo motu. The Bescom stated that the trouble occurred due to falling of a coconut frond on a power line causing short-circuit. It said the situation was beyond its control that happened due to natural forces and termed it as an “act of god”. The Bescom had sought that the petition should be dismissed with costs.
But the three-member commission headed by Philipose Mathai, in its order on Thursday, observed that falling of “mature coconut fronds” is an expected natural occurrence.
According to the Electricity Act 2003, it was the duty of the Bescom to remove such tree or parts of the tree by providing compensation to the owner of the tree, the Commission observed. Besides, according to the Indian Electricity Rules it was the responsibility of power supplier to take precautions to avoid danger arising from supply lines. The Commission asked the Bescom to pay compensation within 90 days while observing that the Bescom had failed to anticipate the event and also failed to take precautionary measures to prevent it.
Many such cases do not see the light of the day because of the “grin and bear it” attitude of majority of consumers. The laws relating to the protection of life and property of power consumers should not remain dormant in the statute books and hence it had taken up the case suo motu, the commission said.