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The Draft Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Amendment Rules, 2021:

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- energy.

 

Context:

The Draft Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Amendment Rules, 2021 were recently published September 30, 2021.

  • Please note that the draft amendment introduces some key additions and revisions to the Electricity (Rights of Consumer) Rules, 2020.

 

Overview of the new rules:

  • Distribution licencees should ensure 24×7 uninterrupted power supply to all consumers so that there is no requirement of running Diesel Generating (DG) sets.
  • The electricity regulatory commission could consider a separate reliability charge for the distribution company, if it required funds for investment in infrastructure.
  • The state electricity regulatory commission should also make a provision of penalty in case the standards laid down are not met by the distribution company.

 

Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020:

These rules serve to “empower” consumers with rights that would allow them to access continuous supply of quality, reliable electricity.

 

The following areas are covered under the rules:

  1. Rights of consumers and Obligations of Distribution licensees;
  2. release of new connection and modification in existing connection;
  3. metering arrangement;
  4. billing and payment;
  5. disconnection and reconnection;
  6. reliability of supply;
  7. consumer as ‘prosumer’;
  8. standards of performance of licensee;
  9. compensation mechanism;
  10. call centre for consumer services;
  11. grievance redressal mechanism.

 

Key Provisions:

  1. States will have to implement these rules and discoms will be held more accountable for issues like delays in providing and renewing connections of electricity.
  2. They are also obligated to provide round-the-clock electricity to consumers, as per the Ministry of Power.
  3. To ensure compliance, the government will apply penalties that will be credited to the consumer’s account.
  4. There are certain exceptions to these rules, especially where use for agricultural purposes is concerned.

 

Background:

Electricity is a Concurrent List (Seventh Schedule) subject and the central government has the authority and the power to make laws on it.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Electricity under 7th schedule.
  2. Subjects under seventh Schedule.
  3. What happens when a State’s law is in conflict with Centre’s law.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the rules.

Sources: down to earth.