The Electricity Act 2003 greatly empowers consumers and vests a lot of rights with them including the right to demand compensation for delays in service, according to R. Balasubramanian, Secretary of Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC).

With the objective to create awareness about their rights among consumers and consumer rights organisations and the responsibilities of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) officials, awareness meetings were being held for different Distribution Regions in the State.

One such meeting organised for the Madurai Region, which covers the five southern districts of Madurai, Theni, Dindigul, Sivaganga, and Ramanathapuram, was held here on Wednesday. The regulations for implementing the Act have been fixed by the TNERC.

One significant rule in the Electricity Act 2003 was that it specifies time-bound solutions for addressing consumers’ grievances and also the compensations they are eligible for in case of delays, he said.

The Secretary also clarified that consumers could still take recourse under the Consumer Protection Act. A post of Electricity Ombudsman has also been created for each State under this Act.

While Mr. Balasubramanian said that he had been designated at present as Ombudsman as complaints were few due to low awareness levels. He said if awareness increases, another individual might as well be appointed.

To make it easier for the consumers to file complaints, a three-member Consumer Grievances Redressal Forum (CGRF) has been created in all TNEB circles. “No consumer would have to travel in excess of 100 km to file a complaint. While the forum will be chaired by a Superintending Engineer, the remaining two will be independent entities appointed for a three-year term by the District Collector,” he said.

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