GoI promulgated new rules for power consumers

NEW DELHI: Union Ministry of Power has promulgated rules laying down the rights of power consumers in the country. While issuing these rules here today via Press Conference, R.K.Singh, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New & Renewable Energy, said, “These rules shall empower the consumers of electricity and added that these 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.” He said that Distribution Companies across the country are monopolies – whether government or private – 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. “This is what the rules provide for”, Shri Singh said.
The minister further said, “These rules are also an important step towards furthering the ease of doing business across the country. Implementation of these Rules shall ensure that new electricity connections, refunds and other services are given in a time bound manner. Wilful disregard to consumer rights will result in levying penalties on service providers.” He said that this is one of the major initiatives and yet another step by the Union Government to put consumer in the centre-stage of public utility services. The Rules will benefit about 30 crores existing and the prospective consumers in the country. Stressing upon the need for awareness of all consumers especially in rural areas/villages, he said, States and DISCOMs are being advised to provide wide publicity to these highly consumer friendly Rules of the Government.
1. Following key areas are covered in the Electricity (Rights of consumers) Rules:
a) Rights of consumers and Obligations of Distribution licensees
b) Release of new connection and modification in existing connection
c) Metering arrangement
d) Billing and Payment
e) Disconnection and Reconnection
f) Reliability of supply
g) Consumer as Prosumer
h) Standards of Performance of licensee
i) Compensation Mechanism
j) Call Centre for Consumer Services
k) Grievance redressal mechanism
2. Rights and Obligations.-
• It is the duty of every distribution licensee to supply electricity on request made by an owner or occupier of any premises in line with the provisions of Act.
• It is the right of consumer to have minimum standards of service for supply of electricity from the distribution licensee.
3. Release of new connection and modification in existing connection.-
• Transparent, simple and time bound processes,
• Applicant has option for online application,
• Maximum time period of 7 days in metro cities and 15 days in other municipal areas and 30 days in rural areas identified to provide new connection and modify an existing connection:
4. Metering –
• No connection shall be given without a meter
• Meter shall be the smart pre-payment meter or pre-payment meter.
• Provision of Testing of meters
• Provisions for replacement of defective or burnt or stolen meters specified
5. Billing and payment –
• Transparency in applicable consumer tariff and bills
• Consumer shall have the option to pay bills online or offline.
• Provision for advance payment of bills
6. Disconnection and reconnection provisions
7. Reliability of supply
• The distribution licensee shall supply 24×7 power to all consumers. However, the Commission may specify lower hours of supply for some categories of consumers like agriculture.
• The distribution licensee shall put in place a mechanism, preferably with automated tools to the extent possible, for monitoring and restoring outages.
8. Consumer as prosumer
• While the prosumers will maintain consumer status and have the same rights as the general consumer, they will also have right to set up Renewable Energy (RE) generation unit including roof top solar photovoltaic (PV) systems – either by himself or through a service provider.

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