By Subhash Narayan
The Government proposes to bring in regulations that will give rights to the consumer to seek 24X7 electricity supply in their homes and provide them compensation for any deviation from the stated goal.
Sources said that a consumer charter has been introduced in the new tariff policy that has been finalised by the Power Ministry that clearly mandates role and responsibility for power distribution companies and states the rights of consumers.
The new tariff policy with added consumer charter has been placed for approval of the Cabinet by the Power Ministry. Once approved, the subordinate legislation would be placed in Parliament before it becomes operational bringing under its ambit state discoms over performance of providing 24X7 power to consumers.
“The policy would become model electricity generation and supply in the country and give citizens the right to seek uninterrupted power supplies or get compensated,” said a source in the power ministry.
The new charter would specify interruptions in power supplies due to load shedding. For every load shedding that is unscheduled or stretches beyond a cut off time, consumers would be compensated by the discoms. The compensation would be in the form of a credit that will be made into the consumers account with discoms so that this credit is used when paying the next electricity bill.
“In most regions, power is in surplus over the current demand. This provides ideal ground for providing 24X7 power households. If the regulation does not go into litigation and all states are on board over it, it would be a major reform that would change the way electricity is supplied in the country,” said a power sector analyst asking not to be named.
Government is carrying forward two major reform in the power sector. One that will come through the tariff policy while the other through a new Electricity Act. The aim of both regulations is to create a competitive power market where suppliers, distributors and consumers — all gain.
(Subhash Narayan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)