FThe Government has prepared Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 with an objective that in the power sector, electricity consumers are the most important stakeholders. The sector exists only because of them;therefore, it becomes necessary on the part of the government to provide satisfaction to the consumers. The government identified the key services, prescribed minimum service levels and standards with respect to these services, and recognized them as the rights of consumers.
The draft was circulated on 9th September to get suggestions from consumers. The last date to give suggestions is on 30th September after which it shall be finalized taking into consideration all the suggestions received.
The draft includes the following main features:
-Reliability of service: SERCs to fix the average number and duration of outages per consumer per year for DISCOMs.
-Timely and simplified procedure for connection: Only two documents for connection up to load of 10 kW and no estimation of demand charges for loads up to 150 kW to expedite giving connection.
-Time period of not more than 7 days in metro cities, 15 days in other municipal areas, and 30 days in rural areas, to provide new connections and modify existing connections.
-2 to 5% rebate on serving bills with a delay of sixty days or more.
-Option to pay bills in cash, cheque, debit cards, net banking, etc but bills of Rs. 1000 or more to be paid online.
-Provisions related to disconnection, reconnection, meter replacement, billing, payment, etc.
-Recognition to the emerging category of consumers known as “Prosumers”. Persons who are consumers and have also set up rooftop units or solarised their irrigation pumps. They will have the right to produce electricity for self-use and inject excess in the grid using the same point of the connection up to limits prescribed by the SERC.
-Compensation/penalties for delay in service by DISCOMs; compensation to be automatic as far as possible, to be passed on in the bill.
-24×7 toll-free call centres, web-based and mobile applications for common services like new connection, disconnection, reconnection, shifting of connection, change in name and particulars, load change, replacement of meter, no supply, etc with facilities for SMS/email alerts, online status tracking, and auto-escalation.
-Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum with 2-3 representatives of consumers at various levels starting from Sub-division for ease of consumer grievance redressal.