Consumers in the country will have the right to a minimum standard of service for the supply of electricity, including 24x7 supply.
"Power distribution companies (discoms) across the country are monopolies - whether government or private - and the consumer has no alternative. Therefore, it was necessary that consumer rights be laid down in rules and a system for enforcement of these rights be put in place," said Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New and Renewable Energy R K Singh as he announced the notification of the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020.
The rules provide for rights of consumers and obligations of distribution licensees, the release of new connection and modification in existing connection, metering arrangement, billing and payment, among others.
"The distribution licensee shall supply 24x7 power to all consumers. However, the commission may specify lower hours of supply for some categories of consumers like agriculture," stated an official statement. Union Power Secretary Sanjiv N Sahai was quoted in a Business Standard report saying that the relaxation has been allowed since pumps do need to be run 24x7 for supplying water to fields.
The rules are based on the draft issued in September this year.
An automatic compensation mechanism will be put in place which will include no supply to a consumer beyond a particular duration and a certain number of interruptions in supply, which will be specified by the regulatory commission.