“For now, we have asked discoms to compensate consumers for unscheduled power cuts extending up to two hours. But after six months, if there is no improvement in their power supply network, government will bring it down to one hour,” he said on Tuesday.
However, the proposed compensation for unscheduled outages is unlikely to come for free. With huge costs involved in system upgrade, discoms are likely to appeal for a tariff hike.
In the amendments suggested to the Delhi Electricity Supply Code and Performance Standards Regulations, the DERC has also asked the discoms to inform consumers about outages in advance. The regulations also suggest maximum time limit and rates for outages caused by different reasons. The compensation amount ranges from Rs 50 to Rs 100 for each day of outage.
“In case of power supply failure, the licensee shall pay compensation to the affected consumer(s) by way of adjustment against current and/or future bills for supply of electricity within ninety (90) days of failure of the Licensee to meet the guaranteed Standards of Performance,” said the DERC.
The DERC would also set up an ombudsman to take up consumer complaints regarding power outages and non-payment of compensation.
“If the licensee fails to pay compensation, the affected consumer(s) may approach the Ombudsman. In case the claim for compensation is upheld by the Ombudsman, the compensation shall be determined by the Ombudsman at the rate of Rs 5,000 or five times the compensation payable as per Schedule-III to these Regulations or whichever is higher,” reads the notice dated May 30.
Power distribution in Delhi is managed by private companies — Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL), Reliance Power-promoted BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL).
Sector experts and discom officials said a lot needs to be done before such a scheme could be implemented. “This whole thing needs to be monitored and there is a lot of groundwork required to improve the power network, the supply system, and the smart meters. This could easily take up 12-24 months,” said a senior discom official.
According to him, unless such smart systems are installed, there would be no accountability.
“For underground cabling and meter upgrade, a huge amount of investment would be required. Delhi government should ideally pay the discoms for supplying power to unauthorised colonies.”
Discom officials said, if they incur system upgrade cost, the DERC would have to approve the tariff hike. “You can’t get world class, accountable and reliable power supply with archaic systems and technology. All this doesn't come for free,” a discom executive said.