The power distribution companies in the national capital will now be penalised and made to compensate consumers for unscheduled power cuts.
The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) on Monday, through a notification of the Delhi Electricity Supply Code and Performance Standard regulations, said that consumers can get up to Rs 100 as compensation for every hour of outage.
“The DERC was given policy directions to penalise the companies for unscheduled power cuts and it is being implemented now after consultations on the draft notification issued last year,” a power department official said.
According to the notification, the quantum of compensation ranges from Rs 25 to Rs 100 per hour.
The default period will be considered from the time someone registers a complaint till the supply is restored. For a blown fuse or damaged service line, for instance, the power companies will have three hours to fix the fault. If they do not meet the deadline, the complainant will be compensated Rs 100 per for every subsequent hour.
For a distribution failure impacting up to 50 consumers, the deadline for temporary supply restoration will be one hour and 12 hours for normal supply. The compensation for such an outage has been fixed at Rs 50 per hour per consumer for the first two hours and Rs 100 per hour per consumer thereafter.
The compensation will be awarded through adjustment against current or future bills within 90 days.
Delhi government last week had said it will not hesitate to consider “cancelling” the licenses of discoms if they failed to improve the power situation in the city which has been hit by a series of outages in the past fortnight.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said this in a meeting attended by the representatives of the private distribution companies BSES, Tata Power (TPDDL) and also the chairman of DERC. In the meeting, Kejriwal gave the discoms a week’s time to take corrective measures or face strict action.
A senior government official said the discoms could not offer a “single explanation” behind the outages despite there being no shortage of power in the national capital. They had blamed local faults for frequent power cuts.
“The government has categorically asked them to set their house in order as people of Delhi will not suffer for the efficiency on their part,” the official said.
“The discoms have not built adequate infrastructure. They say we have put up cables but whenever there is overload, those cables snap as they are of inferior quality. We have directed the companies to arrange mobile transformers,” power minister Satyendar Jain had earlier said.
Delhi’s power demand hit an all-time peak of 6,188 MW on May 20, which power officials say may rise further in June and July when usage of air conditioners increases due to higher humidity.
The discoms have been asked to deploy additional breakdown and maintenance teams to minimise the complaints. They have also been asked to immediately strengthen their call centers by doubling the existing capacity by suitably enhancing the telephone lines and deploying more personnel so that each and every call is registered for its proper resolution.
Earlier, too, the regulator had taken the matter of penalties up with the discoms, who had demanded better infrastructure before such a compensation is brought in.