Electricity (Rights Of Consumers) Rules, 2020

( 21 December, 2020, Ministry of Power, www.pib.gov.in )

  • On 21st December 2020, the Union Ministry of Power has for the first time promulgated rules laying down the rights of power consumers in the country.
  • Distribution companies across the country are monopolies – whether government or private – and the consumer had no alternative – therefore this step will prove a milestone towards the consumers’ rights.
  • 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.
  • Willful disregard to consumer rights will result in levying penalties on service providers.

Other Major Provisions

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.

Release of New Connection and Modification in Existing Connection

  • 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

Reliability of Supply

  • The distribution licensee shall supply 24x7 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.

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.
  • Net metering for loads up to ten kW and for gross metering for loads above ten kW.

Standards of Performance

  • The Commission shall notify the standards of performance for the distribution licensees.
  • Compensation amount to be paid to the consumers by the distribution licensees for violation of standards of performance

Compensation Mechanism

  • Automatic compensation shall be paid to consumers for which parameters on standards of performance can be monitored remotely.

Call Centre for Consumer Services

  • Distribution licensee shall establish a centralised 24x7 toll-free call centre.
  • Licensees shall endeavour to provide all services through a common Customer Relation Manager (CRM) System to get a unified view.

Grievance Redressal Mechanism

  • Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF) to include consumer and prosumer representatives.
  • The consumer grievance redressal has been made easy by making it multi-layered and the number of consumers representatives have been increased from one to four.
  • The licensee shall specify the time within which various types of grievances by the different levels of the forums are to be resolved. Maximum timeline of 45 days specified for grievance redressal.

General Provisions

  • Use of online access to various services such as application submission, monitoring status of application, payment of bills, status of complaints raised ,etc., to consumers through its website, web portal, mobile app and its various designated offices area-wise.
  • The distribution licensee shall provide all services such as application submission, payment of bills, etc., to senior citizens at their door-steps.
  • The details of scheduled power outages shall be informed to the consumers. In case of unplanned outage or fault, immediate intimation shall be given to the consumers through SMS or by any other electronic mode along with estimated time for restoration.