The Ministry of Power published the draft Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 on 9th September 2020 for public comments.

The proposed Rules, aimed at protecting rights of consumers, include welcome provisions such as tracking new connections, streamlining application process for prosumers, and introduction of automatic compensation mechanisms. However, adoption of such Rules will vastly vary, given state-level realities and visions of State Electricity Regulatory Commissions, State Governments, and distribution licensees. The Rules should act as a guiding framework to supplement and strengthen state-level regulatory and legal provisions for quality supply and service of electricity while providing freedom and flexibility to states to adopt approaches best suited for them.

Prayas (Energy Group)’s comments and suggestions highlight issues with some proposed Rules and suggest changes towards increasing protecting consumer interest and improving accountability in the sector, which is also facing rapid changes due to technological shifts.

The comments and suggestions focus on information requirements on status of connections and disconnections; methodology for calculation of reliability parameters; issues with smart metering programs and net metering; issuance of consumer bills and of information for consumers; structure and accessibility to the grievance redressal fora; standards of performance and electrical safety. Along with this, a few measures have been suggested to encourage consumer participation. The full submission can be accessed via the attachment.