Madras HC dismisses PIL against higher EB bills during lockdown

Chennai: The Madras High Court today dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the alleged enhanced power charges levied by TANGEDCO during the lockdown period that came into force in the third week of March.

On a plea filed by one M L Ravi challenging the methodology adopted by TANGEDCO to calculate power consumption during the lockdown period after allegations of levying ‘amplified’ bill charges surfaced, a Divison Bench comprising Justice M M Sundresh and Justice R Hemalatha dismissed the plea after concurring with TANGEDCO’s submission that domestic consumers were facing higher electricity charges as they were spending more time in their homes in view of the coronavirus lockdown.

In his PIL, Ravi submited that TANGEDCO had calculated the consumption charges for the four month period from March to June, based on the bill amount paid by each consumer for the month of February.

He also contended that consumers could be billed only on the basis of the units consumed and not on the last payment made. However, the Bench rejected the allegation and dismissed the PIL.

Denying the allegation, the TANGEDCO, during the course of arguments, submitted that the bills could not be calculated as per the units consumed as none including the petitioner and TANGEDCO knows the meter reading for the lockdown period.

The method followed by the TANGEDCO to calculate the charges were in compliance with the provisions of the Tamilnadu Electricity Act and with the approval of the TN Energy Regulatory Commission.