The Ministry of Power has published draft amendments to the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) rules, 2021. The amendments focus on benchmarking reliability and efforts to reduce the use of polluting diesel generators for back-up power. Our comments and suggestions highlight the need for initiating these changes through amendment of regulations and the need to provide an enabling framework though FoR model regulations or policy provisions rather than rules for the same.
For the enabling framework, our suggestions highlight the need for:
- Rural and urban benchmarks trajectories at the division level for tracking performance across several reliability indicators (SAIFI, SAIDI, Feeder reliability, DT failure etc.)
- Better scrutiny of capital investments and detailed assessment of contribution to increasing reliability before the introduction of reliability charges to enable network investments for increased reliability
- Government support, policy push and regulatory support for providing battery based storage options to ensure reliability for essential public services like health centers and hospitals.
- Accounting for ground realities and technical feasibility while stipulating accelerated timelines for providing temporary connections, especially through pre-paid mode.