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Consumer protection and service quality improvement mechanisms. Prayas - EGI Skill-share workshop for Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan Delegates November 16-18, 2010, Pune, India Prayas Energy Group , [email protected] Agenda. Overview Legal and regulatory framework

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consumer protection and service quality improvement mechanisms

Consumer protection and service quality improvement mechanisms

Prayas - EGI Skill-share workshop for Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan DelegatesNovember 16-18, 2010, Pune, IndiaPrayas Energy, [email protected]

  • Overview
  • Legal and regulatory framework
  • Effectiveness and shortcomings

Prayas EGI Workshop

consumer expectations agitations
Consumer Expectations & agitations

Adequate & timely availability of power

Reasonable Tariff

Good Service Quality

Prayas EGI Workshop

service and supply related issues
Service and supply related issues
  • Poor service quality:
    • Billing errors, metering related issues, un-timely fault resolution, etc
    • Un-planned load Shedding, poor quality of supply, etc
    • Lack of information/clarity about procedures such as getting new connection, change in name or connection type and so on
  • Lack of access:
    • Half the households do not get electricity which is a high quality, cost effective form of energy

Poor and small consumers most effected

Prayas EGI Workshop

legal provisions related to supply and service quality
Legal provisions related to supply and service quality
  • Electricity Act 2003
    • “Section 57.(1)The Appropriate Commission may, after consultation with the licensees and persons likely to be affected, specify standards of performance of a licensee or a class of licensees.”
    • “Section 59 (1): ... furnish to the Commission the following information, namely:-
      • (a) the level of performance achieved under sub-section (1) of the section 57;
      • (b) the number of cases in which compensation was made under subsection (2) of section 57 and the aggregate amount of the compensation.”
    • “Section 59 (2): The Appropriate Commission shall at least once in every year arrange for the publication, in such form and manner as it considers appropriate, of such of the information furnished to it under sub-section (1).”

Prayas EGI Workshop

legal provisions for grievance redressal
Legal provisions for grievance redressal
  • Section 42:
    • Mandates utilities to establish forum for redressal of grievances of the consumers
    • Establishment of Ombudsman as highest authority for consumer grievance redressal
  • Provisions of Consumer Protection Act 1986, override provisions of Electricity Act 2003

Prayas EGI Workshop

standards of performance
Standards of performance
  • MERC (Standards of Performance of Distribution Licensees, Period for Giving Supply and Determination of Compensation) Regulations, 2005
    • Period of giving supply
    • Quality of supply and system of supply
    • Restoration of power supply, in case of faults
    • Metering, reconnection
    • Consumer service norms, determination of compensation

Prayas EGI Workshop

supply code provisions
Supply Code provisions
  • MERC (Electricity Supply Code and Other Conditions of Supply) Regulations, 2005
    • Methods of recovery of electricity charges
    • Intervals for billing
    • Disconnection procedure
    • Wiring of consumer’s premises
    • Basis for categorization of consumers into a tariff category

Prayas EGI Workshop

three tier grievance redressal mechanism structure
Three tier grievance redressal mechanism structure

Consumer’s grievance

  • Each licensee to establish IGRC & CGRF
  • CGRF
    • Consists of Independent Chairperson, utility’s representative, and consumer representative
    • Should decide the matter within 2 months
  • Ombudsman
    • Appointed by commission
    • Only consumer can appeal against the decision of CGRF to Ombudsman
    • Orders available on website

Internal Grievance Redressal Cell (IGRC)

Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF)


Prayas EGI Workshop

ombudsman website screenshot
Ombudsman website screenshot

Prayas EGI Workshop

regulatory role in p rotecting consumer interests
Regulatory Role in protecting consumer interests
  • Setting reasonable and affordable tariff that reflects supply and service quality
  • Ensuring adequate power availability
  • Monitoring of supply and service quality
  • Ensuring compliance of utility with various legal provisions and regulations
  • Conducting due public processes for all the above functions
  • Increase awareness and transparency encourage public participation

Prayas EGI Workshop

regulatory mandate
Regulatory mandate
  • Defining norms and standards for service quality that utility must comply with
  • Establishing grievance redressal mechanism that is simple, easy to access, quick in response and economical for consumers
  • Establish monitoring mechanisms to ensure compliance of standards and regulations and effective grievance redressal

Prayas EGI Workshop

steps taken by merc
Steps taken by MERC
  • Load shedding protocol
    • Equitable distribution of shortage c
    • Ceiling on number of load shedding hours in a given area based on losses
    • Public hearings for deciding the protocol
  • Publishes all CGRF and Ombudsman orders on website
  • Sou-moto hearings on important cases which affect large number of consumers
  • Workshops for assessing CGRF performance and issues faced by them
  • Amending regulations based on feedback from consumers and other stakeholders

Prayas EGI Workshop

role of civil society
Role of Civil Society
  • Increasing awareness and participation
  • Consumer education through booklets and pamphlets
  • Establishing consumer advocacy cells, consumer groups/organizations that work on electricity issues
  • Can make use of provisions under the Right to Information Act if the utility is not cooperating or unwilling to share information

Prayas EGI Workshop

barriers to be overcome
Barriers to be overcome
  • Lack of awareness amongst consumers
  • Utilities do not perceive themselves as service providers
  • Cost of intervention could be too high for the poor
  • Utilities prefer litigations in High court instead of complying with CGRF/ombudsman orders
  • Lack of effective mechanisms/systems for supply and service quality monitoring

Prayas EGI Workshop

comments and discussion
Comments and discussion

Prayas EGI Workshop