Bescom refunds overcharged customer

A Bescom consumer discovered to his delight that when a public utility decides to act, it can do so with lightning speed.

After being denied his refund for more than two years, R Chandrashekar, a resident of Venkateshwara Layout in SG Palya received the amount barely 24 hours after it was brought to the notice of Bescom managing director D P Manivannan.

It was a long battle for Chandrashekar, who had been billed Rs 53,703 erroneously in May 2008 by Bescom for two electricity connections which belonged to him. He should have been billed Rs 1,692.

Since Chandrashekar had given instructions for the payments to be made through Electronic Clearing Service (ECS), the money was deducted, before he could point out the mistake to Bescom officials. When he finally brought it to their notice, the officials said they would adjust it against future bills.

But in 2009, Chandrashekar had to surrender the two meters as the building was being renovated. At this point, the adjustments stopped and Bescom owed the consumer Rs 33,000. Despite several requests made to the Assistant Executive Engineer of the S-4 sub division in Koramangala, the amount was not refunded.

Tired of the wrangling, Chandrashekar approached the consumer court. In August 2010, the 3rd Additional Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum of Bangalore Urban district ruled in his favour and directed Bescom to pay Rs 33,000 with an interest of 12 per cent from May 21, 2008 to the date of actual payment, along with Rs 5,000 as compensation.

Bescom did not bother to refund the money for the next two-and-a-half years. When Deccan Herald contacted Manivannan, he  promised to pay the amount in seven days time, but issued a cheque for Rs 47,000 within 24 hours.

He also said action would be taken against the officers and the penalty amount would be collected from the erring officials.

An elated Chandrashekar said he was surprised when Bescom officials contacted him. “They called me yesterday and asked me to come to the office and collect the cheque.”

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