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BESCOM ordered to pay Rs. 32,935 to NGO

BANGALORE, JAN. 8. Those who have had electrical appliances such as televisions and microwaves damaged by sudden voltage surges can now get relief from the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission. On Thursday, the Commission ordered the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) to pay a city-based non-government organisation, Environment Support Group, Rs. 32,935 for damage caused by a sudden surge in voltage. The Commission took up the case suo motu last year.

The Commission in its order observed that this occurred frequently but "...could be avoided if the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company were to care for the responsibilities cast on it by law. Many such cases do not see the light of the day because of the `grin and bear it' attitude of the majority of consumers."

The Commission said it took up the case suo motu so that "laws relating to the protection of life and property of consumers of electricity do not remain dormant."

The Environment Support Group said the incident occurred in June last when a voltage spike hit its building. As many as five computers had broken down and other equipment got damaged. The group wanted compensation from the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company, which, however, said that the group was not a ``registered consumer'' and that though the installation was in a residential area, it (the group) was using it (installation) for ``unauthorised commercial purposes."

The Bangalore Electricity Supply Company said the group was not entitled to any relief. Besides, it said that the power surge was caused by a falling tree and "there was no negligence or lapse" on its part.

The Commission, however, stressed that the electricity laws made it the power supply company's duty to protect its supply lines. Besides the group was a consumer under law as it was supplied power by the company.

The Commission also pulled up the power supply company for not taking the case seriously. The order said that the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company should pay the amount within 90 days.

When contacted, the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Managing Director, Bharat Lal Meena, said, "I am yet to see the order."

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