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Grievances & Redressal Forum
According to Sec 42(5) of the Electricity Act, 2003, Distribution Licensees are to establish Forum for redressal of grievances of the consumers in accordance with the guideline as specified by the State Commission.
Sec 42(6)&(7) of the aforesaid Act stipulates that :-
(6). Any consumer, who is aggrieved by non-redressal of his grievances under sub-section
In exercise of above-mentioned statutory powers, the OERC has framed a Regulation namely, Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (Grievances Redressal Forum and Ombudsman) Regulations, 2004. It has also issued Circulars and orders under the said Regulation. Some important regulations e.g. 4, 7 and 17 and the Circulars, which are more relevant to consumer, are given below.
Filing a Complaint at GRF
A complainant aggrieved by any action or lack of action by the engineer under the OERC Distribution (Condition of Supply) Code, 2004, may file a complaint in writing before the Forum for the redressal of his grievances after expiring of 15 days from the time limit fixed by the licensees in their Complaint Handling Procedure. The said complaint shall be in writing and the Forum may not insist any format for such filing. Few examples of the nature of the complaint are illustrated below:
i) New Connection
The Forum shall entertain those complaints, which are under its territorial and statutory jurisdiction.
The Forum shall not generally entertain any complaint, which under the Electricity Act, 2003, is required to be disposed off by the other authorities like Appellate Authority, Adjucating Officer, Electrical Inspector, the Commission, Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, Special Court, Arbitrator etc. However, the Forum may send back the complaint to the appropriate authority with suitable remarks, if any.
A person, aggrieved by Assessment order passed under Sec. 126 of the Electricity Act, 2003 for unauthorized use of electricity, should not file his complaint before the Forum. Rather, he should appeal to Appellate Authority under Sec. 129 of the Act.
The Forum may not insist on any format for filing of complaints and may seek necessary information as detailed below from the complainant for quick disposal of the complaint, if not provided.
i) The name and detailed address of the complainant.
The Forum shall decide the complaint expeditiously and shall communicate its decision to the Complainant within a period not exceeding 45 days of the receipt of the Complaint by the Forum. The Forum shall give the reasons in support of its decisions.
The Commission shall have the general power of superintendence and control over the Forum and the Forum shall duly comply with such directions as the Commission may issue from time to time.
Representation to Ombudsman
Any consumer aggrieved by the non-redressal of the grievance by the Forum, may make a representation to the respective Ombudsman within 30 days from the date of the decision of the Forum or within 30 days from the date of the expiry of the period within which the Forum was required to take decision and communicate the same to the Complainant.
The Ombudsman shall decide the representation generally within 60 days from the date of the receipt of the representation of the consumer. In the event the representation is not decided within two months, the Ombudsman shall record the reasons thereof including the cost to be paid by the Licensee if the inability to decide within the time is attributable to the Licensee. In case the delay is for reasons attributable to the consumer, the Ombudsman may reject the representation of the consumer.
Implementation of Orders / Awards
Any order / award passed or direction issued by Ombudsman shall be implemented or complied with by the licensee or the person required by the order or direction to do so. Failure to implement or comply with such order or direction shall amount to contravention of these Regulations for the purpose of Section 142 of the Act.
Sec 142 of the Electricity Act, 2003 stipulates that:
Punishment for non-compliance of direction by Appropriate Commission: - In case any complaint is filed before the Appropriate Commission by any person or if that Commission is satisfied that any person has contravened any provisions of this Act or rules or regulations made thereunder, or any direction issued by the Commission, the Appropriate Commission may after giving such person an opportunity of being heardin the matter, by order in writing, direct that, without prejudice to any other penalty to which he may be liable under this Act, such person shall pay, by way of penalty, which shall not exceed one lakh rupees for each contravention and in case of a continuing failure with an additional penalty which may extend to six thousand rupees for every day during which the failure continues after contravention of the first such direction.
In compliance to the provisions of the aforesaid Regulations, the Distribution Licensees i.e, WESCO, NESCO, SOUTHCO and CESU have established Forums in their respective area of supply and Commission has established office of Ombudsman for each of the Licensees. The addresses and telephone no, of these Forums and offices of Ombudsman are given below: