Need for Electricity Rights of Consumers
- The Rules emanate from the conviction that the power systems exist to serve the consumers and the consumers have rights to get the reliable services and quality electricity.
- The Distribution Companies across the country are monopolies and the consumer has no alternative.
- Therefore it was necessary that the consumers’ rights be laid down in Rules and a system for enforcement of these rights be put in place.
- The implementation of these Rules shall ensure that new electricity connections, refunds and other services are given in a time bound manner.
- The Rules will benefit about 30 crores existing and the prospective consumers in the country.
Highlights of Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020
- The rules would provide for rights of consumers and obligations of distribution licensees, release of new connection and modification in existing connection, metering arrangement, billing and payment.
- An automatic compensation mechanism will be put in place which will include no supply to a consumer beyond a particular duration and certain number of interruptions in supply, which will be specified by the regulatory commission.
- The distribution licensee shall supply 24×7 power to all consumers.
- Transparent, simple and time bound processes: New connection has to be given within a maximum time period of seven days in metro cities, 15 days in other municipal areas, and 30 days in rural areas.
- The rules state that the state electricity regulatory commissions (SERCs) can specify stricter timelines and service quality parameters, but cannot relax these rights to consumers.
- The rules recognise consumer as a prosumer as well, where prosumers will maintain consumer status and have the same rights as a general consumer.
- Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF) to 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.
- The rules allow net metering for loads up to 10 kilowatt (kW) and for gross metering for loads above 10 kW.
Why in News?
The Union Government has notified the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020.