Union Government for the first time laid down Rights to the Electricity Consumers through “Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020”.
R.K.Singh, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New & Renewable Energy, said, “These rules shall empower the consumers of electricity and added that these Rules emanate from the conviction that the power systems exist to serve the consumers and the consumers have rights to get the reliable services and quality electricity.”
He said that Distribution Companies across the country are monopolies – whether government or private – and the consumer has no alternative – therefore it was necessary that the consumers’ rights be laid down in Rules and a system for enforcement of these rights be put in place. “This is what the rules provide for”, Singh said.
Following key areas are covered in the Electricity (Rights of consumers) Rules:
- Rights of consumers and Obligations of Distribution licensees
- Release of new connection and modification in existing connection
- Metering arrangement
- Billing and Payment
- Disconnection and Reconnection
- Reliability of supply
- Consumer as Prosumer
- Standards of Performance of licensee
- Compensation Mechanism
- Call Centre for Consumer Services
- Grievance redressal mechanism
It is worth noting that in rules there is the provision that mandates net metering for loads up to 10 kW and gross metering for loads greater than 10 kW.
The provision created under the section addressing the rights of consumers as prosumers notes” While the prosumers will maintain consumer status and have the same rights as the general consumer, they will also have right to set up Renewable Energy (RE) generation unit including roof top solar photovoltaic (PV) systems – either by himself or through a service provider.”
It also highlighted “ Net metering for loads up to ten kW and for gross metering for loads above ten kW.”
This year in September the ministry proposed net metering for rooftop solar projects of capacity up to 5 kW, and projects above 5 kW to have gross metering. The ministry had invited comments and suggestions from all the stakeholders regarding the regulations proposed.
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