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Govt proposes penalty for discoms for failure to supply 24x7 power to all consumers

The government has mooted the idea of imposing penalty on discoms for failure to supply 24x7 power to all categories of consumers
A file photo of Union Minister for Power RK Singh.
A file photo of Union Minister for Power RK Singh.
  • This is the first time that the government has proposed penalty for discoms over their failure to ensure 24x7 power supply
  • In the rules notified in Dec 2020, the government had only gone so far as to recommend a compensation amount for consumers by discoms for violation of standards of performance

New Delhi: Proposing fresh amendments to the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020, the government has mooted the idea of imposing penalty on discoms for failure to supply 24x7 power to all categories of consumers and making it mandatory for consumers to switch from diesel generators to cleaner forms of power storage. Through a new notification released on Thursday, the government has proposed a second set of amendments to the rules, which were notified on December 31, 2020 and were amended for the first time on June 28 this year.

Penalty for discoms for failure to ensure 24x7 power supply

According to the proposed amendments, “In view of the increasing pollution level particularly in the metros and the large cities, Distribution Licensee shall ensure 24x7 uninterrupted power supply to all the consumers, so that there is no requirement of running the Diesel Generating sets. Accordingly, the State Commission shall give trajectory of System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) and System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) for the cities. The State Commission may consider a separate reliability charge for the Distribution company, if they require funds for investment in the infrastructure for ensuring the reliability of supply to the consumers.” 

“The State Commission shall also make a provision of penalty in case the standards laid down are not met by the distribution company (discom),” said the draft document. This is the first time that the government has proposed penalty for discoms over their failure to ensure 24x7 power supply.

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In the rules notified in December last year, while the government had mandated discoms to supply 24x7 power to all consumers, but it had only gone so far as to recommend a compensation amount for consumers by discoms for violation of standards of performance. “The standards of performance for which the compensation is required to be paid by discoms include no supply to a consumer beyond a particular duration which would be specified by the commission (regulator),” the rules had said. A penalty was to be imposed only if discoms breached time limits for delivery of services set by the Commission, according to the old rules.

Temporary electricity connection to be made available in 48 hrs

The Ministry of Power has also proposed to make it mandatory for discoms to simplify the process of giving temporary electricity connections to consumers. “The process of giving temporary connections to the consumers for construction activities or any temporary usage shall be simplified by the distribution licensee and given on an urgent basis and not later than 48 hours. This will avoid any use of DG (diesel generating) sets for temporary activities in the area of the distribution licensee. The temporary connection shall be through a prepayment meter only,” said the document.

Consumers should stop using diesel generators

“Consumers, who are using the Diesel Generating sets as essential back up power, shall endeavour to shift to cleaner technology such as RE with battery storage etc in five years from the date of the publication of this amendment or as per the timelines given by the State Commission for such replacement based on the reliability of supply by the distribution company in that city,” the government has proposed.

The Ministry of Power has sought comments from stakeholders on the draft amendments by October 21. 

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