Smart meter shock for UPPCL, regulator serves showcause notice

By: |
August 26, 2020 4:30 AM

The Commission has particularly held the senior management accountable for such casual approach and response on an issue which affected large number of consumers and could have endangered the grid security.

The response of the UPPCL and its licensees not only shows its total apathy to consumers, but also goes on to show the grave callousness with which they are handling the issue as well as the regulatory directions. The response of the UPPCL and its licensees not only shows its total apathy to consumers, but also goes on to show the grave callousness with which they are handling the issue as well as the regulatory directions.

Taking a strong view on the widespread failure of electricity supply that occurred on August 12, which adversely affected consumers who had smart meters installed, the UPERC on Tuesday issued a showcause order to UPPCL and its discoms as to why a compensation of Rs 100 should not be paid to all the consumers whose supply has been restored within 24 hours, alongwith an additional compensation of Rs 50 per day to those whose connections were restored beyond that time period.

Taking into account various provisions of Electricity Act 2003, Electricity Supply Code and General Conditions of Distribution Licensee 2004, the Commission passed the order, observing that there was absolutely no cause of disconnection on account of the consumers but was an example of complete mismanagement of licensee.

“Therefore, the Commission, under powers conferred by Section 57 (2) of the Act as well as its inherent power has showcaused UPPCL and the discoms as to why a compensation of `100 to all the consumers, whose supply has been restored within 24 hours should not be paid, with an additional compensation of Rs 50 per day beyond restoration time of 24 hours,” the order said.

Peeved over casual response submitted by UPPCL and the licensees towards the incident that had put more than 1.58 lakh hapless consumers at severe distress, the Commission observed the sheer callousness with which UPPCL and the licensees are handling the issue at hand as well as the regulatory directions. The Commission has particularly held the senior management accountable for such casual approach and response on an issue which affected large number of consumers and could have endangered the grid security.

“The response of the UPPCL and its licensees not only shows its total apathy to consumers, but also goes on to show the grave callousness with which they are handling the issue as well as the regulatory directions. After putting more than 1.58 lakh hapless consumers at severe distress, the submitted response only shows the falsely placed audacity of UPPCL to aver that their act is not covered under statutory and regulatory scheme of things. It is time the senior management should own the responsibility rather than abdicating the responsibility on the vendors and suppliers,” it stated, adding that the smart meter rollout along with its entire planning and coordination is the responsibility of UPPCL as the holding company was the chief contracting party in the contract with EESL for supply if smart meters.

Showing its displeasure over the reply submitted by the UPPCL in which it refers to the incident as “disruption of supply at a massive scale”, the Commission said that by doing so, the UPPCL and the discoms “cannot brush aside their duties and obligations”.

It was also irked by the fact that there was no mention about the likely grid security issues in the responses filed by UPPCL, despite the fact that it was “one of the major concerns of the commission envisaging that the sudden throw-off of a huge demand is likely to disturb the grid security,” it said.

The Commission has fixed the next hearing in the matter for September 3.

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