Draft rules issued on compensation mechanism for power consumers

The next time you don’t receive an electricity bill on time or your bill-related complaint is not addressed in the earnest, you can put the discom in your area in the dock and seek compensation.

The government has unveiled the Draft Electricity (Rights is Consumers) Rules, 2020 that has eased the way electricity is supplied to consumers and also offers them a host of other services.

The Power Ministry has put the draft of the rules for comments and stakeholders consultation and intends to implement it as part of consumer charter initiative.

As per the draft rules, discoms have been made liable to compensate consumers for no supply of electricity beyond a particular duration, number of interruptions in supply, time taken for getting an electricity connection, disconnection and shifting.

The idea was to give rights to the consumer to seek 24×7 electricity supply at their homes and provide them a compensation for any deviation from the stated goal, said a Power Ministry official.

The new consumer rights rules also propose to compensate electricity consumers if discoms delay in updating their personal information or change of load factor in their supply.

It would specify a timeline for repair of faulty meters and correct any voltage-related issues.

The draft rules which have also been sent to all discoms and transcos for comments, have specified that the amount of compensation would be determined by the respective electricity commissions.

It has however, said that if discoms delay in serving electricity bills beyond 60 days, the consumers would need to be given a rebate on bills between 2 and 5 per cent or an amount decided by the commissions.

To make the process easy for consumers, the draft rules provide that all discoms would set up an online facility for registration of complaint and payment of compensation within six months of the notification of the rules by the commissions.

Also the compensation will be adjusted against current or future bills of a consumer meaning that compensation would come into the power accounts of consumers with discoms and not into their bank accounts.

The new rules also provide that consumers will have to pay through the online medium only for electricity bills of more than Rs 1,000.

The discoms would also set up Consumers Grievance Redressal Forum to facilitate consumers.