According to retired Tangedco engineer and activist S Neelakanta Pillai, the high consumption recording could be because of such issues, technically termed as meter tamper events.
However, despite numerous complaints from consumers over excessive billing, Tangedco was not ready to create awareness among the consumers, Pillai alleged.
One affected consumer from Coimbatore had moved the Tamil Nadu Electricity Ombudsman (TNEO) seeking a refund for the excessive tariff that he paid after changing static meters in his residence.
A Yakoob Hussain, the consumer, alleged that after replacing two meters last year, the subsequent reading showed abnormally high consumption.
After he took up the issue with the assistant engineer, Rathinapuri, Tangedco officials inspected the premises. The AE then asked him to check the earth-neutral link in his house wiring.
After receiving the Metre Relay Test wing report on July 29, 2020, that showed earth-tamper occurrence in both the services connections, the AE inspected the premises again on the consumer complaint and advised him to check the house wiring.
Despite the earth-tamper occurrence, TNEO rejected the consumer’s request for refund, holding that the consumer was liable to pay for the recorded current consumption charges which are due to incorrect wiring, as the new static meters are proved to be correct, Pillai said.
The ombudsman then advised Tangedco to educate consumers, field engineers and staff on the replacement of meters that earth neutral link defect in the wiring and providing common neutral for multiple service connections could cause abnormal current consumption recording.