High Voltage? Blame the surge on BESCOM

By Johnson T.A
Times news Network, 08/06/03

Bangalore: Within four hours of installing a brand new computer, N. Somashekhar, a resident of Nagashettyhalli on the outskirts of Bangalore, could not use it anymore.

A power surge burnt down the computer and its circuitry. Nearly five other homes in the same area had electrical appliances damaged due to the same power surge, two weeks ago.

Some of the affected have now written to the consumer consultant of the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission, seeking compensation for the damage.

Though few people are aware, energy suppliers - BESCOM in Bangalore - are liable to pay compensation for voltage fluctuation-related damages to electronic equipment.

As per the Indian Electricity Rules, an energy supplier shall not permit the voltage to vary from the declared 220 to 230 volts without first informing consumers. "If it can be proven that the damage was caused by a fluctuation in power supply and not due to internal wiring problems, BESCOM will pay compensation," says Bescom communication and reforms coordinating Officer B. N. Sathyaprema Kumar.

According to the consumer consultant for KERC Y. G. Muralidhar, an average of 10-15 complaints of power fluctuation-related damages are received by the Commission every year. "Often, when appliances at a number of houses are affected, the damage can be attributed to a fault in the quality of power supplied. The surge will be recorded at the local power station and this can prove the supplier's fault," says Muralidhar.

Most power surges are a result of accidents in transmission- for example, when trees fall on electric lines, and due to the quality of feeders.

"In urban areas, the quality of feeders has been found to be fantastic. It is in rural areas that the problem is severe," says the KERC consumer consultant.

EMPOWERED: In case of power surge related damages:· Find out if neighbourhing houses have been affected.· Lodge a joint complaint with the local office or sub-division.· Contact KERC consumer consultant at

YGM-CIC@rediffmail.com or 5320213 / 214.