Power Ministry Seeks Comments on Draft Consumers Rights Amendment
Stakeholders can submit their comments until April 14, 2023
The Ministry of Power has invited comments from the stakeholders on the draft Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Amendment Rules, 2023. The proposed rules seek to bring transparency and give more control to the consumers when dealing with power distribution companies.
The power ministry has sought comments from chief and principal secretaries of all states, power distribution companies, power transmission companies and power generators, industry associations, and the central ministries.
Stakeholders can submit their comments until April 14, 2023.
The rules require smart meters to be read remotely at least once a day and other pre-payment meters to be read by an authorized representative of the distribution licensee at least once every three months.
The draft also says consumers should be able to access data regarding their energy consumption through a website, mobile app, or SMS. Smart pre-payment meter users may also check their consumption and balance in real-time.
The amendment protects consumers from any penalty on the maximum demand recorded by the smart meter for the period before the installation date.
It adds that if the maximum demand recorded by the smart meter exceeds the sanctioned load in a month, the bill for that billing cycle will be calculated based on the actual recorded maximum demand.
The revision of the sanctioned load, if any, based on the actual recorded maximum demand must be done according to the rules.
Time of day tariff
The draft rules state that the time of day (ToD) tariff will be effective immediately after installing smart meters for specific categories of consumers.
For commercial and industrial (C&I) consumers with a maximum demand of up to 10 kW, the ToD tariff will be effective by April 16, 2024. For other consumers, except for agricultural consumers, it will be effective by April 16, 2025.
The ToD tariff during peak periods of the day for C&I consumers should not be less than 1.2 times the normal tariff, and for other consumers, it should not be less than 1.1 times the normal tariff.
The tariff for solar hours of the day must be at least 20% less than the normal tariff. The duration of peak hours should not be more than the solar hours notified by the state commission or state load despatch center.
The distribution licensee’s website must display the tariff for each category of consumers. Consumers must be notified of changes in the tariff, fuel surcharge, and other charges and a full billing cycle ahead of time through various modes of communication.
In October, the Ministry of Power issued a draft proposal for amending the Electricity Act 2021 to ensure that distribution companies provide round-the-clock uninterrupted power supply to all consumers and prevent the need for diesel generators.
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