The government on Monday notified the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020. These rules serve to “empower” consumers with rights that would allow them to access continuous supply of quality, reliable electricity. This is because the provisions make distribution companies more accountable to consumers.
The rules cover 11 key areas of power supply to consumers in the country, including obligations of distribution licensees, metering arrangements, release of new connections and modifications of existing connections and grievance redressal and compensation mechanisms. However, there are certain exceptions to these rules, especially where use for agricultural purposes is concerned.
Effect on consumers
Now, as per law, states will have to implement these rules and discoms will be held more accountable for issues like delays in providing and renewing connections of electricity. They are also obligated to provide round-the-clock electricity to consumers, as per the Ministry of Power.
To ensure compliance, the government will apply penalties that will be credited to the consumer’s account. The following areas are covered under the rules:
* 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;
* grievance redressal mechanism.
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