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Home News Power Sector News DERC doubles penalty for deficiency of service

DERC doubles penalty for deficiency of service

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DERCIn a few weeks, Delhi private discoms will have to pay the price for every deficiency in service. Power regulator Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) held a public hearing on its proposal to hike the penalty amount payable by discoms as suo motu compensation if they fail to pay the original penalty for deficiency in service. All the penalty amounts under the performance standard regulations may also be doubled. Sources said the new penalty amounts will be effected in another month.

In the draft proposal in December last year, the DERC wanted power distribution companies that failed to meet the laid-down performance rules for various services to pay suo motu a prescribed compensation for each deficiency. If the company failed to do so, then the consumers would get five times the amount prescribed.

"If the discoms does not pay the compensation suo motu, then the consumer will have to be paid compensation which is five times the original amount," said a DERC official. The draft also proposed that all consumer complaints that were made using any medium — telephone, SMS or even in writing had to be routed through a call centre, a unique compliant number and a permanent record of the complaint had to be made.
A senior DERC official said: "All the stakeholders supported the idea to increase the penalty amount and agreed with the points mentioned in the consultation paper. There were also new suggestions for claiming compensation from discoms if they do not pay interest on security deposit on time."

While discoms predictably have been opposing the concept of suo motu compensation, they were surprisingly silent on the issue at the public hearing. "They have opposed the proposal in writing to the DERC saying that such a concept was unheard of in the country," said an official.

The proposal is applicable to all areas of service like no supply complaints, billing errors, new connection delays etc and consumers are liable to receive compensation if their complaints are not addressed within the prescribed time.

The discoms have been asked to ensure that they run call centres with sufficient number of officials or employees for effective complaint handling.

The telephone number of the call centre will have to be printed on consumer bills along with the name and telephone number of the business manager of the respective districts.

The penalty amount will empower consumers in Delhi like never seen before. For instance, the compensation that the companies would have to pay consumers for non-replacement of a burnt meter within three days of receiving the complaint has been increased from the current Rs 50 for each day of default to Rs 50 per hour for non-restoration of supply beyond six hours and Rs 100 for each day of default for non-replacement of the meter within the time frame.

Similarly, for fuse blown out or a tripped MCB (miniature circuit breaker) that has to be rectified within three hours for urban areas and eight for rural ones, the fine has been increased from Rs 50 per day of default to Rs100 for each hour of default beyond the time specified.
 

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