Home buyers allegedly being charged commercial tariffs by builders
A builder took one commercial HT connection from Bescom and later installed private meters for the residents.
In a 1,000-flat apartment complex, those who have moved in faced a harrowing experience recently when their builder cut their power supply.
Shaan (name changed on request), a resident of the complex at Budigere cross said the builder had charged each buyer ₹1.75 lakh for a connection from the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom), but instead of providing a connection for each home, the builder took one commercial HT connection from Bescom and later installed private meters for the residents.
“Now, the builder is charging nearly ₹8 per unit and when we request him to get a proper Bescom domestic connection, he is not responding. On top of it, on May 29, the builder disconnected most of the residents’ power connection demanding us to accept his private meter concept. Despite the COVID situation, we were still forced to come out of home to protest against this. He finally restored power when we said we will pay,” said the resident, adding that they approached the police, Bescom and K-RERA. While the police intervened briefly, they say they have a ruling in their favour from K-RERA. “But none of it has helped,” they said.
The forum of home buyers – Forum for People’s Collective Efforts – termed it “daylight robbery”, saying this was not an isolated case.
“We are 200 families staying in the apartments using 250 KV power at commercial rates. We are paying for the DG sets too in addition to the power. We have filed FIRs against the builder for the harassment we are facing. With the commercial power supply and disruptions, there were near-fatal accidents by people using the lift,” said Kundhavi R, treasurer of an apartment welfare association. They too said they filed case with K-RERA and got a favourable judgment in 2019.
Another apartment resident since 2018 said in January 2021, Bescom sent a notice stating that they have made an error in their billing from 2018 to 2021 for their common area connection and sought ₹ 755,784 as back-billing payable within 15 days or threatened disconnection. “Through an online RTI, we requested information asking for copies of documents submitted by the builder and also the sanction letter issued by Bescom. But we haven’t received any response from the sub-division,” said a resident.
A Bescom official, who the residents of the Budigere apartment approached, said an official would go for a spot visit to ascertain the situation. “What we have told them though is if they have an apartment association, they can bring the builder to a consensus about installing individual meters,” he said.
Charges not understood: builder
The builder in question, responding to a query from The Hindu, said, “The charges are not completely understood. The complex is supplied with HT power under respective classification by the authority i.e., Bescom. Entire amount raised as consumption is to be charged from end-user as being beneficiary users.”
But the residents have basic questions. “Why were we promised Bescom connections? What is the guarantee for the private meters? What is the safety of the power supply and who takes ownership in case of untoward incidents?”