On 1st April 2013, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) issued a public notice inviting suggestions/objections from all stakeholders regarding Draft Standards of Performance (SoP) of Distribution Licensees, Period of Giving Supply and Determination of Compensation (SoP) Regulations. Having a comprehensive set of regulations is the first step towards monitoring the quality of service of distribution companies.It provides the framework and defines the extent to which the quality of service of the distribution company is subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction and public scrutiny. SoP regulations are an important process by which distribution companies can be held accountable for a responsibility they do not have a direct economic incentive to fulfill. The last SoP regulations were issued in 2005 and it has not been revised till date even though comments were sought in 2010.

Prayas’s submission with respect to these draft regulations focus on strengthening the monitoring mechanisms via a systemic approach to SoP implementation. Key suggestions include having similar service quality standards for urban and rural areas, conducting independent surveys to evaluate supply and service quality, strengthening internal processes of the utility via training and process audits and ensuring collection, collation and dissemination  of information with respect to service quality. The following submission was made by Prayas containing these suggestions.