Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has approved the power department’s policy for compensating consumers for unscheduled power cuts, by the private power distribution companies in the capital.
In a statement, the Delhi government said that it was looking to make discoms accountable to the consumers.
“The government is of the clear view that power distribution privatisation in Delhi, which was done around 15 years back, should benefit the consumers, and uninterrupted power supply for which they pay, is their right,” it said in a statement.
As per the new policy, in cases of unscheduled power cuts, discoms will have to restore electricity “within an hour”. Failure to do so shall result in a penalty of Rs 100 for each hour of such a power outage. The initial exemption of an hour, officials said, would be granted “only once a day”, failing which the penalty “shall accrue right from the beginning of the duration of the unscheduled power cut.”
The order requires the nod from the L-G. In the statement, it said, “The Delhi government is confident that the L-G will concur with the policy and endorse this pro-consumer step, which will become a model for other governments across the country to follow.”
Government officials added that if “the compensation is not credited automatically by the discom concerned, consumer can approach DERC/CGRF for resolution and the amount of compensation in such cases shall be Rs 5,000 or five times of the compensation payable, whichever is higher.”
An industry source, however, said, “Compensation has to be determined on a case by case basis after a proper hearing. An automatic imposition of compensation by way of regulation is not possible.”
Domain experts listed “practical difficulties” such as “determination of the reason for the outages” — whether the outage is due to “distribution, transmission or generation failure or consumer’s own installation failure”.