In a move that will promote transparency and accountability in matters related to electricity supply and billing process in housing societies located in Gurugram, the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) has directed Ardee Infrastructure Private Limited (AIPL) to refund the charges it had collected under the ‘administrative/service’ head in electricity bills between 2003 and 2018 to the residents of Ardee City.
Though the order is dated for April 11, the residents (who are also petitioners in the case) said that they received the directive last week.
The residents said they had filed a petition with the HERC in August 2017, asserting that the builder has been charging them an excess of 12% of the total electricity bill per month under the head ‘administrative/service charges,’ which is a violation of the HERC rules.
“We have been fighting against these wrongful charges against the builder for a long time and finally our efforts have been rewarded. When we had filed this petition, there was no RWA in the society. In fact, we had collected funds from the residents to fight this case,” said Chaitali Mandhotra, a resident of Ardee City who is keenly involved in RWA work of the society.
Her husband, Nihal Mandhotra, worked along with other residents on the petition and is presently working as general secretary of RWA of Ardee City.
Earlier in April 2016, the residents had taken the matter to the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN), who had also taken cognizance of the irregularity and instructed AIPL to not charge anything above the prescribed tariff.
The HERC order reads, “As a reaction to the letter from the office of DHBVN, Gurgaon, AIPL started charging the 12% excess amount as ‘Upkeep Charges of HT Lines, Transmission/Commercial Losses’ effective July 2016.”
The order further stated, “The commission directs AIPL to follow the various provisions of HERC and refund the amount overcharged in electricity billing cycles, failing which appropriate proceedings under the terms of Section 142 of the Electricity Act, 2003 shall be initiated.”
“We are not lawyers but we still managed to fight against this injustice. How the amount will be refunded needs to be seen but at least it will be,” added Mandhotra.
“In July 2019, DHBVN had provided us with direct individual electricity connections and we were finally out of the builder’s clutches. And now this order calls for double celebrations,” said Mandhotra.