FICCI welcomes move to lay down Rights to the Electricity Consumers through ‘Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020’

New Delhi: FICCI commends the move of the Union Government to lay down Rights to the Electricity Consumers through ‘Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020’. The first of such a kind initiative in the power sector in the country shall empower the consumers and balance the rights of all the stakeholders in the value chain. This measure will also help build a robust electricity distribution chain to ensure reliable services and quality of electricity.

The Rules also stipulate that any new electricity connections, refunds and other services must be provided within a stipulated time bound manner and any wilful disregard in the consumer rights will result in levying penalties on service providers.

Mr Uday Shankar, President, FICCI said, “We wholeheartedly welcome the path-breaking initiative of the Government in improving the quality and reliability of power accessibility to all households in the country. This will ensure both transparency and accountability as new rules empower consumers through a system of laid down rules and a system for enforcement of these rights. We believe this is a game changing reform and will take Indian electricity distribution sector at par with the international standards.”

Some of the other key highlights of the Rules include compensation amount to be paid to the consumers by the distribution licensees for violation of standards of performance and metering arrangements which shall be the smart pre-payment meter or pre-payment meter for all the consumers.

Mr Vipul Tuli, Chairman, FICCI Power Committee said, “Implementation of these key provisions by the States will not only benefit the consumers but also help the DISCOMs to plug distribution leakages, modernisation of their supply networks and improve their billing and collection systems.”

Other measures laid down in the Rules in the interest of the consumers include creating online facility within six months of the Rules being notified by the state regulator to enable consumers to compensation, informing consumers through SMS or other electronic means if supply needs to be switched off beyond the outage allowed by the regulator, rebate to consumers if bills are late by more than 60 days of a billing cycle. The Rules also allow consumers to set up rooftop solar power units for captive consumption or become a prosumer.

The enactment of these Rules is one of the most significant reforms towards achieving the fulfilment of the objectives of the Electricity Act 2003.