Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi: A power distribution firm in the city has been ordered by a consumer forum to pay Rs 20,000 as damages to one of its customers for wrongly asking him to pay an arrear of Rs 1.30 lakh.

City`s Central District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum asked BSES Yamuna Power Ltd to pay damages to customer Suraj Kohli while scrapping the private discom`s demand of the power arrear on the alleged ground that he had bought the property.

The forum dismissed the BSES Yamuna`s contention, saying it was not able to prove that Kohli had purchased the property and was liable to pay the power arrears of the previous owner.

"There is no record to suggest that the complainant (Kohli) purchased the property from Satwant Kaur (previous owner) as alleged by the electricity company (BSES). The company cannot hold complainant liable for payment of arrears of electricity charges, amounting to over Rs 1.3 lakh which was allegedly not paid by the previous owner," said the forum headed by its president B B Chaudhary.

The discom contended that notice for transfer of dues was issued to Kohli as he had purchased the property from the previous owner and was liable to pay the arrears.

Kohli, a Central Delhi resident, had said in his plea that he had applied for an electricity connection after taking the property, a shop, on rent and had cleared all the arrears of the previous shop occupant.

Kohli said even though he paid his electricity dues on time, a notice was sent by the discom to him to pay dues of his power bill. The forum said the demand by the discom amounts to a deficiency in service and has "caused pain and mental agony to the complainant."

"The notice dated February 22, 2008, issued to the complainant to make the payment of over Rs 1.3 lakh as arrears shall be treated as null and void," the forum said. It directed the discom to also pay Kohli "a sum of Rs 15,000 for causing harassment, pain and mental agony and a sum of Rs 5,000 as litigation charges."