Facing a power outage or blown transformer in your area but don't know whom to call for help? Don't worry. Very soon you can dial a number just like you do '100' for police, ambulance or fire brigade.
The power ministry is set to announce a countrywide 24-hour uniform four-digit helpline number for power faults, irrespective of the state or district you live in.
The move is part of the energy sector reforms steered by Goyal ever since the Narendra Modi government came to power two years back. One of the focus areas has been to use digital technology for improving systemic efficiency and empowering consumers by putting information on their fingertips through mobile apps.
"We have applied to DoT (department of telecommunications) for allotment of a number. It would be a three- or four-digit number," power, coal and renewable energy minister said.
Ministry sources separately said in all probability, the number would be '1912'.
The helpline number would connect to state or discom control rooms, which would dispatch repair teams from offices nearest to the caller's area. All data related to the complaint would be made available on a website and mobile app being developed.
"We are adding a new dimension to transparency. It (helpline number) would be a transparent system. A complaint number would be generated once a call is placed to the number. Everything will go on record... What the consumer said, what reply he received, when the complaint was attended to, the nature of the problem. All these would be available through the net so that we can monitor," Goyal said.
Broadly, the backbone of the helpline system would be formed by integrating an expanded Vidyut Pravah -- the mobile app that currently provides state-wise information on availability and price of power -- with state's monitoring system. Goyal is scheduled to launch the expanded version of Vidyut Pravah, which would track power flow at district level, in Andhra Pradesh next month.
"People will know whether there is any shortage in their district, state or the network. They would know how many hours of supply they are receiving and who is responsible...," Goyal said. The idea is to pre-empt any move by states to shift the blame for blackouts on lack of supply from the Centre.
Goyal said the helpline number would be launched as soon as states begin district-level monitoring. "The Modi government believes in federalism. We don't force anything on states. All these schemes would fail if done through force. The states have to come on board themselves because these are for their benefit. Andhra is willing to provide the software (for district-level monitoring) for free and I would share it with other states."
The groundwork has already been laid in UDAY, the scheme launched to turn around state discoms. Metering at every level of the distribution network is one of the key conditions of the scheme. This would provide real time data and help in formulating a suitable response to any contingency.