PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has ordered the registered owner of four electricity meters at a shoplot to pay RM18,000 in damages to Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) for meter tampering.
A three-member bench, chaired by Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil, said there was merit in the utility giant’s appeal to set aside a High Court order to exempt Yong Kok Yeap from paying damages despite liability being proven.
“After having gone through the evidence and submissions by parties, we set aside the High Court order and reinstate the findings of the magistrate,” said Karim, who sat with Nor Bee Ariffin and Supang Lian.
The bench also ordered Yong to pay TNB another RM5,000 in costs.
Lawyer Jessica Dass Kannathasan, who represented TNB, said her client filed a suit after learning of adjustments to the meters between 2002 and 2005 at a three-storey shoplot at Taman Seri Serdang in Seri Kembangan.
“The meters were not faulty,” she said, adding that an inspection revealed there was bypass wiring installed to tamper with the meters.
The lawyer, who appeared with Ahmad Zamri Asa’ad Khuzaimi, said there was unjust enrichment by Yong as there was a loss of unrecorded use of electricity by TNB.
Lawyer KC Tan said a witness for the plaintiff, who was cross-examined during the trial, had said there was a possibility of the meters being faulty.
“The defendant, as a consumer, could not call an expert to determine whether the meters were working well,” he said.
Karim then interjected and said that his client should have made a complaint to TNB.
Jessica, in her reply, said Yong did not lodge any complaint and it was proven in court that the meters had been tampered with.
In December 2015, a magistrate ordered Yong to pay RM18,070.35 in damages as TNB had proven its case.
However, the High Court quashed the compensation although it maintained Yong was liable for the act.
TNB legal officer M Nyanavellan, who was present in court, told reporters there were many suits filed against such errant consumers nationwide.
“In this case, we came to the appellate court because the defendant (Yong) should not be allowed to go scot-free from paying damages,” he said.