After ignoring it for close to seven years, power distribution companies - the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) and Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) - have begun the process for implementation of 'standards of performance' regulations for prompt delivery of services to electricity consumers and payment of compensation for deficiency in service.
The distribution companies have started a drive, including an advertisement campaign, to create awareness among power consumers, who are largely unaware provisions about comprehensive 'standards of performance' regulations.
"Consumers are being informed about their rights and service standards committed by the two corporations. They can also lodge complaints and get compensation if the service rendered is not up to the committed standards," said a UHBVN official.
The two corporations, which had completely overlooked the regulations notified by the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) till now, woke up after the power regulator raised the issue with the state authorities recently.
"The companies should publish information booklets and deliver them to consumers along with the electricity bills to inform them about these provisions. This suggestion is also being discussed in the regulatory commission," a power sector expert said.
The HERC had notified the regulations on July 16, 2004, giving six months to the utilities for putting in place the required infrastructure and another six months for the mock exercise for the implementation.
While the companies paid no heed to the timeline, the commission also watched as a spectator from the sidelines.
HT had on June 14, 2011, highlighted the failure of UHBVN and DHBVN to implement the existing regulations, which were binding on them, in seven years.
The 'standards of performance' regulations provide for payment of compensation up to Rs 3,000 to the consumer who faces inconvenience due to discom in delivery of service within the specified time period.
Of the 17 services for which guaranteed standards have been stipulated, consumers are to be compensated automatically for most due to deficiency of service.
In the remaining cases, consumers have to file claims to seek compensation.
The discoms, according to the regulations, have to register every complaint of a consumer, maintain consumer-wise record and pay compensation to the consumer for violation of a guaranteed standard of performance.
The payment of compensation is to be made by way of adjustment against existing, current or future electricity bills.
The non-implementation issue was raised by some consumers during the public hearing of the annual revenue requirement applications of the UHBVN and DHBVN for 2011-12.
"Despite being in place since 2004, the standards of performance are not being implemented. And not a single consumer of the total 40 lakh customers in the state has received any compensation for deficiency in services," they said.