New Delhi: The Centre has notified the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 in the Official Gazette on December 31, 2020, a notification on the Ministry of Power's website said on Tuesday. And with this, the rules that seek to "empower" consumers with rights and allow them to access continuous supply of quality, reliable electricity have now come into force. The new rules are being hailed as a key reform in the sector because they make power distribution companies (discoms) more accountable to consumers.
The rules cover 11 key areas of the power distribution system — Rights of consumers and Obligations of Distribution licensees, release of new connection and modification in existing connection, metering arrangement, billing and payment, disconnection and reconnection, reliability of supply, consumer as 'prosumer,' standards of performance of licensee, compensation mechanism, call centre for consumer services and grievance redressal mechanism.
Here's what you should know:
1. 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.
2. It is the right of consumer to have minimum standards of service for supply of electricity from the distribution licensee.
1. Transparent, simple and time bound processes,
2. Applicant has option for online application,
3. Maximum time period of 7 days in metro cities and 15 days in other municipal areas and 30 days in rural areas identified to provide new connection and modify an existing connection.
1. No connection shall be given without a meter.
2. Meter shall be the smart pre-payment meter or pre-payment meter.
3. Provision of testing of meters
4. Provisions for replacement of defective or burnt or stolen meters specified
1. Transparency in applicable consumer tariff and bills
2. Consumer shall have the option to pay bills online or offline.
3. Provision for advance payment of bills
1. The distribution licensee shall supply 24×7 power to all consumers. However, the Commission may specify lower hours of supply for some categories of consumers like agriculture.
2. The distribution licensee shall put in place a mechanism, preferably with automated tools to the extent possible, for monitoring and restoring outages.
1. While prosumers will maintain consumer status and have the same rights as the general consumer, they will also have right to set up Renewable Energy (RE) generation unit including roof top solar photovoltaic (PV) systems – either by himself or through a service provider.
2. Net metering for loads up to ten kW and for gross metering for loads above 10 kW
1. The Commission shall notify the standards of performance for the distribution licensees.
2. Compensation amount to be paid to the consumers by the distribution licensees for violation of standards of performance
1. Automatic compensation shall be paid to consumers for which parameters on standards of performance can be monitored remotely.
2. 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:-
a. No supply to a consumer beyond a particular duration, to be specified by the Commission
b. Number of interruptions in supply beyond the limits as specified by the Commission
c. Time taken for connection, disconnection, reconnection, shifting
d. Time taken for change in consumer category, load
e. Time taken for change in consumer details
f. Time taken for replacement of defective meters
g. Time period within which bills are to be served
h. Time period of resolving voltage related complaints
i. Bill related complaints.
1. Distribution licensee shall establish a centralised 24×7 toll-free call centre
2. Licensees shall endeavour to provide all services through a common Customer Relation Manager (CRM) System to get a unified view
1. Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF) to include consumer and prosumer representatives.
2. 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.
3. The licensee shall specify the time within which various types of grievances by the different levels of the forums are to be resolved. Maximum timeline of 45 days specified for grievance redressal.
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