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P/006/2018 - Sri. C.P. Paul Ernakulam
The appellant is running a hotel in the name and style ‘Paulson Park Hotel’ having consumer number 5481 under the jurisdiction of College Section, Ernakulam. Based on a Government policy of giving more facilities to promote Tourism in Kerala, Tourism was given equal status of industry and as such the electricity tariff of those hotels that got approval was assigned LT IV- industrial tariff since 6/1987. The appellant's hotel was classified as a star hotel by the tourism department with effect from 01-08-988 for a period of 3 years and a certificate was issued by the competent authority to that effect and the power supply to the appellant's hotel was being charged under LT-IV category. The concessional tariff under LT IV claimed subsequently was not supported by any certificate issued by the Tourism Department for availing concessional tariff applicable to the industries in the hotel business. The tariff assigned to the appellant’s hotel was changed to LT VII A Tariff retrospectively for the period during which eligibility certificate was not tendered. The appellant aggrieved by the action on the part of the respondent in classifying them under LT VII A Tariff, approached Hon'ble High Court vide OP No. 5980 of 1998 which was finally disposed of by the Hon'ble Court vide judgment dated 18-03-2005, directing the appellant to produce eligibility certificate from the Tourism Department within one month. Thereafter the eligibility certificate for the period from 22-08-1996 to 22-08-1999 was produced. In pursuance of the judgment in OP No. 5980/1998 a bill for Rs. 1,15,86,310/- dated 18-06-2005 was issued to the appellant for the period from 8/1991 to 8/1996 and from 15-05-1999 to 4/2005 under LT VII A Tariff. Later, the Govt. reversed the order and withdrew the concession of low rate industrial tariff granted to hotels with effect from 15-05-1999, vide GO.(MS) No.537/200/GAD dated 26-09-2000. The appellant has filed a complaint dated 25/2/2007 before the CGRF, Central Region, Ernakulum challenging the demand dated 3/4/2007 issued by the respondent for a sum of Rs. 1,60,15,422/- including surcharge till date, which was dismissed on the ground that since a WP(C) 21918/05 filed by the appellant on the same subject is pending before the Hon. High Court of Kerala. Aggrieved by the order passed by the CGRF the appellant had filed appeal petition dated 31-08-2007 before this Authority. The appeal was disposed of by ordering that the disputed tariff revision is not justified and hence considered as arbitrary and also held that there is no justification for levy of any penal interest on arrears for which consumer is not responsible; vide order No. 22/2007 of 17-10-2007. The KSEB filed WP(C) 22232/2008 before the Hon’ble High Court challenging the findings rendered by the Ombudsman. The Hon’ble High Court, in its judgment dated 27-11-2013, remanded the matter to this Authority for fresh disposal of the case after affording fresh opportunity of personal hearing to the parties concerned. Accordingly the respondent has produced a copy of the judgment on 22—01-2018. From the findings and conclusions arrived at as detailed above, I decide to quash the short assessment bill amounting to Rs. 1,60,15,422/- issued to the appellant claiming arrears of electricity charges together with surcharges. The respondent is directed to revise the short assessment bill by deducting the surcharge from the calculation statement and issue the revised bill to the consumer within fifteen days. No interest is payable by the consumer up to the due date of the revised bill as ordered now. The consumer may be allowed suitable installments if requested for, but will carry interest for installments from the due date of payment of installments. Having concluded and decided as above it is ordered accordingly. The Appeal Petition filed by the Consumer is allowed as ordered and stands disposed of as such. No order on costs.


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Created 2018-05-09 06:13:58