Weak public response on discoms paying for blackout

Only five suggestions have been received by the electricity regulator in the city over changes in provisions that would force a power distribution company to pay compensation to its consumers for unscheduled blackouts that last beyond one hour.

A source in the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission confirmed that in the past 10 days just about five public responses have been received and Monday is the last day for consumers to send in their suggestions on the issue.

“There is a thought within the DERC that the last date for inviting public suggestion on the penalty provision should be extended,” said an insider.

The DERC had prepared an eight-page draft and uploaded it on its website to invite public suggestions on the proposed compensation for power cuts.

Amendment

The compensation can be implemented only after the existing provisions in the Electricity Act are amended on the basis of suggestions from public, said an official.

The proposal says that there would be no penalty on the discoms for the first hour of a power cut during which they would be expected to set thing right.

For the second hour of the power cut, the discoms may be asked to pay Rs 50 to each consumer and for the third hour and subsequent hours of electric supply disruption the distribution companies may have to pay at the rate of Rs 100 per hour.

The compensation will be payable if at least 50 consumers suffer a power cut in a particular area and unavoidable local faults may not invite any penalty.

Unscheduled power cuts

The public suggestions were invited after Power Minister Satyendra Jain wrote to the regulator to invoke the provisions that make the discoms pay for unscheduled electricity cuts.

 According to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the move is aimed at bringing more accountability among the power companies.

“With private power discoms, consumers should get better facilities,” said Kejriwal.
The Delhi government had sent a proposal to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) to penalise discoms which allow load-shedding on a number of occasions in a day.
As per policy directions sent to the regulatory body, discoms will have to pay penalty directly to the consumers by making the adjustment in their electricity bills.

Jain said that the government issued directions to DERC under the provision of Section 108 of the Electricity Act 2003.

Delhi has three power distribution companies for different parts of the city – BSES Rajdhani Power Limited, BSES Yamuna Power Limited and Tata Power.

Under the existing provisions, the discoms can be penalised only if the power disruption of an area exceeds one per cent of the total energy supplied during a month.  According to sources, due to the average calculation even if certain areas face power cuts for a few hours it does not make the total power disruption

add up to more than one per cent of the monthly energy supply. “It due to this that penalty is rarely imposed on power discoms for power cuts,” a government official said.

Adjustment in bill

The power minister said that all payments of compensation will be made suo-motu by the discoms by way of adjustment against current and/or future bills for supply of electricity but not later than 90 days.

If the compensation is not paid suo motu by the discoms and if any affected consumer approaches the DERC or the consumer for claiming the compensation, the amount of compensation in such cases shall be Rs 5,000 or five times the compensation payable on suo motu basis, whichever is higher.

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