What has the government done to reduce delay and red tape in redressal of complaints at discom complaint centres?
The Public Grievance Cell on power, which is headed by a retired judge with the authority to direct discoms on their disputes with consumers, has had a strong impact. This Cell regularly issues directions to discoms, makes sure that the discoms follow the directions and that red tape does not come in the way of delivery of relief to consumers.
Has the government ever done anything to check the menace of touts at complaint centres of the discoms?
What is the need for touts nowadays? The process of consumer interaction has been simplified with the help of information technology. I understand in the old days (pre-privatisation era) touts could have been a menace, but not anymore. Now the number of complaint centres has also increased to over 160 or so from a handful in the past. Which means there are more windows for the consumers' direct interaction with discoms without the interference of touts or any other undesirable middlemen.
What is the government doing to make sure that the number of grievances is brought down?
We have to take care of last-mile-delivery of power. This means, there is a need to improve the quality of supply right at the end of the chain—at the transformer level. When we get to constantly monitor the quality at the level of local transformers, like, how much power was delivered in what time and which fault was attended to in how much time etc, I think the quality of the services would improve. And when that happens, the number of complaints will automatically come down.
Are there any future plans of the government to make discoms more proactive in redressal of complaints?
While the public grievance cell receives around 1,000 cases or more per month, which indicates that the consumer has found this as an effective tool, we plan to do more assessment on the ground and improve matters further.