Citizens residing in the national capital are set for major relief from the unscheduled power cuts with the Aam Aadmi Party government giving its approval to a policy that stipulates power discoms to compensate citizens if an unscheduled power cuts last longer than an hour.
On Tuesday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal approved the policy proposal asking discoms to pay compensation to users of Rs 50 per hour in case of “unscheduled power cuts by the private power distribution companies.” The move has put the discoms more accountable to its customers.
Under the new policy, discoms will be exempted from paying penalty in the first hour of an unscheduled power cut. For the next hour, consumers will be paid Rs 50, after which compensation will be paid at a rate of Rs 100 per hour. The first-hour exemption from penalty will be available once a day for the discoms. The compensation amount will be adjusted in the monthly power bill.
Consumers can also register a complaint against the discoms to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Authority (DERC) if the compensation is not paid to them. In such a case, the amount of compensation will be Rs 5,000 or five times of the compensation payable, whichever is higher.
The affected consumers will be required to file a “no current” complaint through SMS, email, telephone, mobile apps or official websites of discoms, giving their particulars such as name, consumer account (CA) number and mobile number. The discoms will attend to the complaint and will send a confirmation message to consumers with the date and time of restoration, an official statement said. The statement further added that after the permissible time limit ends, the respective compensation amount will be automatically credited to the CA number without any manual intervention and a message will be sent to the consumer.
The file has been sent to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal for his green signal. “The Delhi government is confident that the L-G will concur with the policy and will endorse this pro-consumer step,” the statement added.
The Delhi government believes that power distribution privatisation in Delhi, which was done around 15 years back, should benefit the consumers, and uninterrupted power supply for which they pay, is their right, it said.
An industry source, however, told The Indian Express that compensation has to be determined on a case by case basis after a proper hearing. “An automatic imposition of compensation by way of regulation is not possible,” the source was quoted as saying.
As per the IE report, domain experts have listed “practical difficulties” such as “determination of the reason for the outages” — whether the outage is due to “distribution, transmission or generation failure or consumer’s own installation failure”.
Earlier in 2016, the proposal to compensate power consumers for unscheduled electricity cuts was cancelled by the then L-G Najeeb Jung.
The national capital will become the first in India to draw up a ‘Power Consumer Compensation Policy” if it comes into force.