Eliminating one procedural hurdle in getting an electricity connection in Delhi — an internal wiring inspection — played a pivotal role in improving India’s overall rating in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2016. Now, Delhi’s power distribution companies are hoping that more key reforms would help India make a bigger impact in the next edition of the global survey.
Since April 1, the companies have started an online connection approval system that has sharply pared the time taken for getting a new connection to around 15 days, from nearly 120 days earlier.
Besides, discoms in Delhi are working on easing the process of getting the right-of-way for electrical work, especially from May to October when the monsoons hold up work.
These steps, according to Praveer Sinha, CEO and Managing Director of Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd, would offer an incremental push to the electricity sector rankings in next year’s survey and help boost India’s overall ranking in the ‘doing business’ sweepstakes.
The latest edition of the report — Doing Business 2016 report — saw India scale up four positions in the overall country rankings, aided largely by a 29-position jump under the ease of “getting electricity” head.
This was attributed to a couple of specific reform initiatives in Delhi and Mumbai, the two cities that represented India: the utilities in Delhi having “made the process for getting an electricity connection simpler and faster” and the ones in Mumbai reducing “the procedures and time required to connect to electricity”.
The “getting electricity” segment of the last survey focussed on calibrating the challenges faced by a business house in obtaining a permanent electricity connection for a newly constructed warehouse in key cities across the 189 countries included in the survey.
“The cut-off date for the latest study (Doing Business 2016) was March 31. Since then, we’ve carried out incremental reform measures in Delhi that could see the number of steps to obtain a permanent electricity connection come down from five to three,” Sinha said.
“While the inspection by the Electrical Inspectorate has been discontinued for all three discoms, we have internalised the process and a list of authorised agencies carry it out now. But this does not hold back the process of giving out a connection,” he added.
In last year’s survey, the number of steps needed to obtain a permanent electricity connection was pegged at seven.
On April 6, the online approval for a connection was implemented by the Tata Power subsidiary in its distribution zone. In the same month, Reliance Power-owned BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna, the two other private distribution companies operating in the capital, also implemented an online approval of connections.
BSES has also activated a mobile application for customers to apply for a range of services, including a new connection, a company official said.
Efforts are also on to streamline the process of getting clearances for electrical work from multiple agencies in Delhi — the Public Works Department, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Delhi Jal Boad, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Indrapastha Gas Limited — unlike a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation clearance that would subsume the majority of clearances in that city.