By LE Desk
New Delhi, May 3: The Supreme Court has rapped the Jharkhand State Electricity Board for laying its own terms and conditions in the supply of electricity saying it has to be fair and reasonable towards consumers.
A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Vineet Saran made the observation while dismissing an appeal filed by the board against the decision of Jharkhand High Court, news agency PTI reported.
The High Court had allowed the plea filed by a small scale industry, Ramkrishna Forging Limited, challenging the decision of the board refusing its request to reduce the sanctioned load of electricity from 4000 KVA to 1325 KVA.
“It is noteworthy that the Jharkhand State Electricity Board is a monopoly supplier of electricity which has laid down its own terms and conditions, regarding which the consumer has no say or choice but to sign on the dotted lines, if it wants electricity load varied for running its industry. “The Board is an instrumentality of the State. It has to be fair and reasonable,” the bench said.
The top court said if the regulations provide for contract load to be varied even through a written communication, then through fresh agreements it may have been done.
“On the dictates of the Board, the consumer may have been required to sign fresh agreements for each enhancement of load, but the enhancement being for the same electricity connection which still continues, it would merely be amendment of the initial agreement,” the bench said.
This would also be in consonance with the provisions of the Jharkhand State Electricity Regulatory Commission (Electricity Supply Code) Regulations, 2005, which have to be liberally interpreted in favour of the consumer, the apex court said.
The industry had alleged that after the enhancement of load, it was facing major trippings as well as continuous load shedding which was affecting the costly machineries and, therefore, it decided to reduce the load from 4000 KVA to 1325 KVA.