On 31.12.2020, the Ministry of Power has promulgated Rules laying down the rights of power consumers in the country. Mr. R.K. Singh (the Hon’ble Minister), said that the implementation of these Rules shall ensure a time bound delivery of services such as new #electricityconnections, refunds and other services. He further added that wilful disregard to #consumer rights will result in levying penalties on service providers.
In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 176 of the Electricity Act, 2003 (Act 36 of 2003), the Central Government notified the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 (‘Rules’) further to amend the Electricity Rules, 2005, vide Notification No CG-DL-E-31122020-224061 and F. No. 23/05/2020-R&R.
The following are the key features of the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules 2020:
1- The Rules have covered specific areas such as, rights of consumers and obligations of distribution licensees, release of new connection and modification in existing connection, metering arrangement, billing and payment, consumer as prosumer, compensation mechanism, grievance redressal mechanism, etc.
2- The Rules clarified that it is the duty of every distribution licensee to supply electricity on request made by an owner or occupier of any premises in line with the provisions of Act.
3- The Rules made the process of releasing of new connection and modification in existing connection more transparent, simple and time bound. The maximum time period of 7 days in metro cities and 15 days in other municipal areas and 30 days in rural areas.
4- The Rules states that no connection shall be given without a meter and a meter shall be the smart pre-payment meter. It also provides for provisions of testing of meters and rules related to replacement of defective or burnt or stolen meters.
5- The Rules notify that the prosumers will maintain consumer status and have the same rights as the consumer, they will also have right to set up renewable energy generation unit including roof top solar photovoltaic systems either as by himself or through a service provider.
6- The important part of the Rules which is Compensation Mechanism provides that the automatic compensation shall be paid to consumers for which parameters on standards of performance can be monitored remotely. The standards of performance for which the compensation is required to be paid by the distribution licensee include, but are not limited to, the following, namely:
- No supply to a consumer beyond a particular duration, to be specified by the Commission;
- Number of interruptions in supply beyond the limits as specified by the Commission;
- Time taken for connection, disconnection, reconnection, shifting;
- Time taken for change in consumer category, load;
- Time taken for change in consumer details;
- Time taken for replacement of defective meters;
- Time period within which bills are to be served;
- Time period of resolving voltage related complaints; and
- Bill related complaints.
7- The Rules also specify the provisions related to Grievance redressal mechanism –whereby it states that the Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF) will include consumer and prosumer representatives. The consumer grievance redressal has been made easy by making it multi-layered and the number of consumer’s representatives have been increased from one to four.
For further information on the Rules, please click on the link below:
The Indian Lawyer & Allied Services