SEPT – 15: CERC NEWS
City centre completes one year
CERS, in collaboration with Bharat Sevak Samaj, established a Consumer Protection Centre for residents of the old city area of Ahmedabad last year. The City Centre completed one year on 12 August 2015. During the year, the centre received 71 complaints out of which 13 were processed. In 58 cases, appropriate advice was given to the complainants.
Six complaints were received from members of the Rapid Action Force against Vaibhav Realty for not giving possession of flats in time. The complainants wanted a refund. After CERS intervention, ad hoc payments were given and the balance amount was to be given by April 2015. Since the builder did not make the payments, the matter has been passed on to the legal department of CERS.
In a first, electricity consumer gets compensation
CERS succeeded in getting compensation of Rs. 2,500 for Uttar Gujarat Vij Company Ltd. (UGVCL) industrial consumer Paras Enterprises of Kalol as its defective meter was not changed within seven days as per Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) regulations. The consumerâ€™s meter was found running slow by 34.3% during routine check carried out by the UGVCL team. The meter was changed after more than six months.
CERS appeared before the Electricity Ombudsman on behalf of the consumer. The Ombudsman reduced the assessment amount and directed UGVCL to pay compensation of Rs. 2500. This is the first time that penalty has been imposed on an electricity company employee and compensation paid to consumer since notification of regulation in 2005.
Awareness campaign conducted in Rachana school
An â€˜Awareness Campaignâ€™ was organised by CERC on 20 August 2015 at Rachana High School, Shahibaug, Ahmedabad on (i) online shopping and (ii) environmentally friendly products. The programme was organised under the Grahak Suvidha Kendra banner and more than 150 students and their parents participated.
Ms. Meghavi Joshi, assistant manager, projects, Mr. Girish Shah, deputy manager, complaints department, Dr. Ashoka Ghosh, deputy manager, ENVIS, and Ms. Raji Nair, all from CERC, conducted the programme. Ms. Joshi informed the audience about the Grahak Suvidha Kendra project and CERCâ€™s Hindi consumer magazine, Grahak Sathi. Mr. Shah conducted an interactive session on online shopping. He informed the audience about the type of problems consumers face during online shopping, tips for safe online shopping and where consumers could complain. Dr. Ghosh made students and parents aware about how consumer products could be eco-friendly and how their activities could protect the environment. Films on Online shopping and Fixed Deposits were shown.
CERC work on organic turmeric powder appreciated
A one-on-one meeting was organised by the ENVIS Secretariat in New Delhi and attended by Dr. Ashoka Ghosh, programme officer of the project at CERC. Mr. M. Kannan, economic advisor, Mr. Abhay Kumar, deputy economic advisor, Mr. Kumar Rajnish, national project coordinator and Mr. Amit Vashishtha, scientist took part in the meeting. Dr. Ghosh briefed them about the initiatives to be taken in 2015-16. Mr. Kannan appreciated the work done by CERC on organic turmeric powder and suggested uploading such information to increase consumer awareness.
GERC becomes defunct
Due to the lethargic approach of the Government of Gujarat, the independent quasi-judicial body in the power sector is non-functional from 17 August 2015. With one member having completed his tenure and another stepping down due to superannuation, only one is remaining. Hence, GERC has become defunct due to lack of quorum as minimum two members are required for functioning of the commission. CERS had represented before the Government of Gujarat in March itself to act in time as per Section 85 of the Electricity Act.
It will take at least three to four months for appointment of the new chairperson or member and till then GERC will be on vacation affecting millions of electricity consumers of Gujarat. CERS has written to the Union power minister, Piyush Goyal, on the matter.