Bengaluru: A consumer court in the city recently ordered the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to pay a consumer Rs 5,000 in compensation for wrongly issuing water bills on commercial rates.
Venkataswamy M, 75, a resident of Kannamangala post, had applied for a water connection for his home in 2018 but was shocked to see that he was being charged very high bills based on the commercial rates for water.
On January 14, 2020, the BWSSB issued a bill calculated on commercial rates for water, following which, the complainant immediately raised the issue with the water board to fix the issue. He sent reminders to the BWSSB every month afterwards but received no response.
Despite clarifying with the water board that the connection was purely for domestic consumption and not commercial use, the BWSSB continued to charge him water bills at commercial rates.
He also filed an RTI application, wherein the BWSSB responded that nearly 50% of the water had been used for renovation works at the site, leading the board to believe that it was being used for commercial purposes and begin charging commercial rates.
During the court hearing, the bench noted that it was the duty of the BWSSB as a public utility service to respond to public grievances and that it had failed to do so for months while continuing to charge commercial rates. It added that the BWSSB had not provided any documents to substantiate its reasoning for charging high rates.
On October 31, the bench directed the BWSSB to pay Rs 5,000 as compensation and issue fresh bills to the complainant charging domestic rates. Additionally, the BWSSB must pay Rs 4,000 as litigation charges. Should the BWSSB fail to comply with the order within 45 days, it will be liable to pay an interest of 9% until the full amount is paid.
(Published 12 November 2023, 23:09 IST)