Consumer safety and compensation for victims of electrical accidents are important aspects that have not been addressed in the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (KERC) draft guidelines for consumers, said participants of the public hearing held on Monday.
The draft KERC (Electricity Consumers Rights) Duty to Supply Electricity by the Licensee, Consumers Complaint Handling Procedure and the Licensees Standards of Performance) Regulations 2021 was notified by the commission recently.
Sridhar Prabhu, an advocate who represented the Karnataka State Licenced Electrical Contractors’ Association, told The Hindu that the draft offered no solutions for electrical accident victims.
“The need of the hour is to have accident claims tribunal, much like the Motor Vehicle Accidents Claims Tribunal,” he said and pointed out that while the draft was just a compendium of various earlier regulations, it still did not specify means through which electrical consumers can seek redressal of their grievances.
The Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), in its detailed objections and suggestions, also noted that the regulation should take care of compensation for victims of electrical accidents.
The compensation for industries in the standard of performance due to variation in supply or flickering in voltage and due to power outage has not been addressed and added that the compensation should be commensurate with losses incurred.
FKCCI added that the compensation for non-performance as per the standard of performance should be collected from the officials responsible and the same should not be reflected in the tariff revision.
Mr. Prabhu suggested having a minimum threshold for compensation, which could be issued after verification of actual losses incurred.
M.G. Prabhakar, former member of KERC Advisory Committee, said after the allotted time, consumers’ complaints, if not addressed, should get escalated. He also said the KERC should, on a suo motu basis, take up compliance audit.
Mr. Prabhu produced a few circulars issued by Bescom before the KERC that tried to circumvent or were gross violations of KERC’s earlier directions or regulations.
Mr. Prabhakar also suggested increasing the number of consumer grievance redressal forums, apart from making usage of Kannada compulsory in these forums. He also said dedicated staff could be posted to assist rural consumers to file complaints.
Source: Read Full Article