Friday, May 13, 2022

Power crisis: Govt mandates discoms to ensure 24×7 uninterrupted power supply

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  • The distribution licensee shall ensure 24×7 uninterrupted power supply to all the consumers, so that there is no requirement of running the diesel generator sets, said the Power Ministry 
  • The State Commission may consider a separate reliability charge for the discom, if they require funds for investment in the infrastructure for ensuring reliability of supply to consumers 

New Delhi: In the backdrop of a power crisis, the Ministry of Power has amended the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 to mandate distribution companies (discoms) to ensure 24×7 uninterrupted power supply to all the consumers in metros and cities with a population of 1,00,000 and above in order to do away with the requirement of polluting diesel generators. “In view of the increasing pollution level particularly in the metros and the cities with population 100,000 and above, the distribution licensee shall ensure 24×7 uninterrupted power supply to all the consumers, so that there is no requirement of running the diesel generator sets and accordingly, the State Commission shall give trajectory of system average interruption frequency index and system average interruption duration index for such cities,” the Power Ministry has said in a gazette notification. 

The ministry notified the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Amendment Rules, 2022, by exercising its powers under Section 176 of the Electricity Act, 2003.  

Govt asks consumers to replace diesel generators 

According to the amendments announced by the Power Ministry, consumers using diesel generators as essential power backup must attempt to shift to cleaner technology like renewable energy with battery storage within five years from the date of commencement of these rules or as per the timelines given by the state commission for such replacement depending on the reliability of power supply in that city under the discom jurisdiction. 

Reliable power supply 

“The State Commission may consider the customer average interruption duration index, customer average interruption frequency index and momentary average interruption frequency index as additional indicators of reliability of supply and the minimum interruption time for calculation of additional reliability indicators shall be as specified by the State Commission,” the notification said. And in case the interruption time is not specified by the State Commission, three minutes shall be considered as interruption time for calculating the additional reliability indicators, the Power Ministry has said. 

The State Commission shall have an online mechanism for reviewing and monitoring of reliability indices of distribution licensees and they may consider a separate reliability charge for the discom, if they require funds for investment in the infrastructure for ensuring the reliability of supply to the consumers, the government has said. 

Temporary power connections 

The new laws also mandate discoms to simplify the process for temporary connections and to provide such connections on priority within 48 hours. “The process of giving temporary connections to the consumers for construction activities or any temporary usage and the like shall be simplified by the distribution licensee and given on an urgent basis and not later than forty eight hoursand within seven days in case augmentation of the distribution system is required and this shall avoid any use of diesel generator sets for temporary activities in the area of the distribution licensee,” said the notification. 

Interruptions defined 

The new rules have new sub-clauses defining the customer average interruption duration index, customer average interruption frequency index, the momentary average frequency interruption frequency index, system average interruption duration index, and the system average interruption frequency index.

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