In a first-of-its-kind move, the Union power ministry on Wednesday announced it had drafted rules providing for the Rights of Electricity Consumers to simplify the procedure for electricity connection. Just two documents would be required for an electricity connection with load of up to 10 kw. Recognising that consumers were the most important stakeholders, the ministry invited suggestions and recommendations from the public on the draft by September 30.
The ministry said in a statement: "Electricity consumers are the most important stakeholders in the power sector. The sector exists because of them. Having provided access to electricity to all citizens, it is now important to focus on consumer satisfaction. For this, it is imperative to identify the key services, prescribe minimum service levels and standards with respect to these services and recognise them as rights of consumers."
The main objective of the draft prepared by the ministry includes enhancing the reliability of services, a timely and simplified procedure for connection, and 2 to 5 per cent rebate on serving bills, among other things.
Defining a new category of consumers as "pro consumers", the ministry said that persons who were consumers and had also set up rooftop units or solarised their irrigation pumps would have the right to produce electricity for self-use. The ministry also aims to improve serviceability by providing 24x7 toll-free call centre, web-based and mobile applications for common services like new connection, disconnection, and create ways to track the status online.
The ministry also proposes to set up a consumer grievance redress forum with two to three consumer representatives at various levels starting from sub-division, for ease of addressing issues.
The ministry added that the draft had been circulated among ministries and suggestions would be evaluated after September 30 and then improved further.