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Power dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies will ac­cept cash pay­ments from con­sumers for bill dues and new elec­tric­ity con­nec­tions, and even al­low in­stall­ments, fol­low­ing a court or­der aimed at re­mov­ing has­sles for the poor.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives at Tata Power Delhi Dis­tri­bu­tion Lim­ited (TPDDL), BSES Ra­jd­hani and BSES Ya­muna of­fices will col­lect the pay­ments as long as the con­sumer brings along a copy of the court or­der, a Delhi Elec­tric­ity Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion (DERC) state­ment said.

“Cash pay­ments were not ac­cepted as per DERC guide­lines and the con­sumer was asked to get a bank draft pre­pared. The poor and il­lit­er­ate thus feel ha­rassed and bur­dened with this ad­di­tional con­di­tion and many of them choose to make no pay­ment at all,” said ad­di­tional ses­sions judge Swarana Kanta Sharma.

The di­rec­tion came while hear­ing a case of elec­tric­ity theft in which a Ro­hini res­i­dent was ac­cused of steal­ing power.

Of­ten, th­ese dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies do not see th­ese con­sumers, many of them poor and with­out a bank ac­count, who come to sort out in­flated bills, elec­tric­ity theft al­le­ga­tions and dues.

The judge said con­sumers can­not be ex­pected to spend a whole day ei­ther in court or at the of­fice of the com­pany to pay the bill or get an elec­tric­ity con­nec­tion, the right of ev­ery ci­ti­zen.

The court also di­rected in­spec­tion teams of the dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies to take the help of lo­cal po­lice when go­ing to check me­ters as con­sumers of­ten “man­han­dle the teams or give wrong in­for­ma­tion” about the house owner.

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