Investigation And Enforcement
If on an inspection of any place or premises or after inspection of the equipment, gadgets, machines, devices found connected or used, or after inspection of records maintained by any person, the assessing officer comes to the conclusion that such person is indulging in unauthorized use of electricity, he shall provisionally assess to the best of his judgement the electricity charges payable by such person or by any other person benefited by such use.
The order of provisional assessment shall be served upon the person in occupation or possession or in charge of the place or premises in such manner as may be prescribed.
The person, on whom a notice has been served under subsection (2) shall be entitled to file objections, if any, against the provisional assessment before the assessing officer, who may, after affording a reasonable opportunity of hearing to such person, pass a final order of assessment of the electricity charges payable by such person.
Any person served with the order of provisional assessment, may, accept such assessment and deposit the assessed amount with the licensee within seven days of service of such provisional assessment order upon him: Provided that in case the person deposits the assessed amount he shall not be subjected to any further liability or any action by any authority whatsoever.
If the assessing officer reaches the conclusion that unauthorised use of electricity has taken place, it shall be presumed that such unauthorized use of electricity was continuing for a period of three months immediately preceding the date of inspection in case of domestic and agricultural services and for a period of six months immediately preceding the date of inspection for all other categories of services, unless the onus is rebutted by the person, occupier or possessor of such premises or place.
The assessment under this section shall be made at a rate equal to one-and-half times the tariff rates applicable for the relevant category of services specified in sub-section (5). Explanation.- For the purposes of this section,
Assessing officer means an officer of a State Government or Board or licensee, as the case may be, designated as such by the State Government ;
Unauthorised use of electricity means the usage of electricity by any artificial means; or by a means not authorized by the concerned person or authority or licensee, or through a tampered meter; or for the purpose other than for which the usage of electricity was authorized.
Appeal to Appellate Authority.
Any person aggrieved by a final order made under section 126 may, within thirty days of the said order, prefer an appeal in such form, verified in such manner and be accompanied by such fee as may be specified by the State Commission, to an appellate authority as may be prescribed.
No appeal against an order of assessment under sub-section (1) shall be entertained unless an amount equal to one-third of the assessed amount is deposited in cash or by way of bank draft with the licensee and documentary evidence of such deposit has been enclosed along with the appeal.
The appellate authority referred to in sub-section (1) shall dispose of the appeal after hearing the parties and pass an appropriate order and send a copy of the order to the assessing officer and the appellant.
The order of the appellate authority referred to in sub-section (1) passed under sub-section (3) shall be final.
No appeal shall lie to the appellate authority referred to in subsection (1) against the final order made with the consent of the parties.
When a person defaults in making payment of an assessed amount, he, in addition to the assessed amount shall be liable to pay, on the expiry of thirty days from the date of an order of assessment, an amount of interest at the rate of sixteen percent per annum compounded every six months.
Investigation of certain matters
The Appropriate Commission may, on being satisfied that a licensee has failed to comply with any of the conditions of licence or a generating company or a licensee has failed to comply with any of the provisions of this Act or rules or regulations made thereunder, at any time, by order in writing, direct any person (hereafter in this section referred to as Investigating Authority ) specified in the order to investigate the affairs of any generating company or licensee and to report to that Commission on any investigation made by such Investigating Authority: Provided that the Investigating Authority may, wherever necessary, employ any auditor or any other person for the purpose of assisting him in any investigation under this section.
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in section 235 of the Companies Act, 1956, the Investigating Authority may, at any time, and shall, on being directed so to do by the Appropriate Commission, cause an inspection to be made, by one or more of his officers, of any licensee or generating company and his books of account; and the Investigating Authority shall supply to the licensee or generate company, as the case may be, a copy of his report on such inspection.
It shall be the duty of every manager, managing director or other officers of the licensee or generating company, as the case may be, to produce before the Investigating Authority directed to make the investigation under subsection (1), or inspection under sub-section (2), all such books of account, registers and other documents in his custody or power and to furnish him with any statement and information relating to the affairs of the licensee or generating company, as the case may be, as the said Investigating Authority may require of him within such time as the said Investigating Authority may specify.
Any Investigating Authority, directed to make an investigation under sub-section (1), or inspection under sub-section (2), may examine on oath any manager, managing director or other officers of the licensee or generating company, as the case may be, in relation to his business and may administer oaths accordingly.
The Investigating Authority, shall, if it has been directed by the Appropriate Commission to cause an inspection to be made, and may, in any other case, report to the Appropriate Commission on any inspection made under this section.
On receipt of any report under sub-section (1) or sub-section (5), the Appropriate Commission may, after giving such opportunity to the licensee or generating company, as the case may be, to make a representation in connection with the report as in the opinion of the Appropriate Commission, seems reasonable, by order in writing
require the licensee or the generating company to take such action in respect of any matter arising out of the report as the Appropriate Commission may think fit; or
cancel the licence; or
direct the generating company to cease to carry on the business of generation of electricity.
The Appropriate Commission may, after giving reasonable notice to the licensee or the generating company, as the case may be, publish the report submitted by the Investigating Authority under sub-section (5) or such portion thereof as may appear to it to be necessary.
The Appropriate Commission may specify the minimum information to be maintained by the licensee or the generating company in their books, the manner in which such information shall be maintained, the checks and other verifications to be adopted by licensee or the generating company in that connection and all other matters incidental thereto as are, in its opinion, necessary to enable the Investigating Authority to discharge satisfactorily its functions under this section.
Explanation.- For the purposes of this section, the expression licensee or the generating company shall include in the case of a licensee incorporated in India
all its subsidiaries formed for the purpose of carrying on the business of generation or transmission or distribution or trading of electricity exclusively outside India; and
all its branches whether situated in India or outside India.
All expenses of, and incidental to, any investigation made under this section shall be defrayed by the licensee or generating company, as the case may be, and shall have priority over that debt due from the licensee or the generating company and shall be recoverable as an arrear of land revenue.
Orders for securing compliance
Where the Appropriate Commission, on the basis of material in its possession, is satisfied that a licensee is contravening, or is likely to contravene, any of the conditions mentioned in his licence or conditions for grant of exemption or the licensee or the generating company has contravened or is likely to contravene any of the provisions of this Act, it shall, by an order, give such directions as may be necessary for the purpose of securing compliance with that condition or provision.
While giving a direction under sub-section (1), the Appropriate Commission shall have due regard to the extent to which any person is likely to sustain loss or damage due to such contravention.
Procedure for issuing directions by Appropriate Commission.
The Appropriate Commission, before issuing any direction under section 129, shall–
serve notice in the manner as may be specified to the concerned licensee or generating company;
publish the notice in the manner as may be specified for the purpose of bringing the matters to the attention of persons, likely to be affected, or affected;
Consider suggestions and objections from the concerned licensee or generating company and the persons, likely to be affected, or affected.