Tamil Nadu

TNERC plans to drop automatic compensation to consumers for deficiency in service

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The proposed amendment would make the process of getting compensation a difficult one, say consumer activists

Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) has proposed a draft amendment to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Distribution Standards of Performance Regulations, to drop the automatic mechanism of paying compensation to a consumer for deficiency in service.

According to the proposed amendment, a consumer who is aggrieved by a deficiency in service has to make a written claim to the area engineer of Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco).

The area engineer shall take a decision on the claim made by the consumer in accordance with Distribution Standards of Performance regulations and if found in order, the compensation shall be paid through credit entry in the next / future bill of electricity charges within ninety days from the date of claim, it said.

Further, the amendment said if the grievance of the consumer is not redressed fully or if there is a dispute in the payment of compensation, the affected consumer may approach the Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum of the Circle for relief.

As per existing regulation, Tangedco has to pay the compensation amount to the affected consumer automatically, following the non-compliance to a particular standard in the next billing cycle through credit entry in the consumption bill.

The existing regulation also says that an aggrieved consumer has the right to claim the compensation for non-compliance of the standards if Tangedco fails to pay the compensation in the next billing period by representing to the designated employee of the power utility.

The proposed amendment would make the process of getting compensation a difficult one, say consumer activists. “The amendments will in no way help ensuring adhering to the standards. Also, removing the automatic compensation clause is against consumer interest and TNERC should reject such an amendment,” said K. Kathirmathiyon, secretary, Coimbatore Consumer Cause.

The TNERC has invited comments by December 24, 2019 and Coimbatore Consumer Cause is planning to submit its objections to the proposed amendment. Recently, under the existing norms, TNERC had levied a penalty of ₹1 lakh on Tangedco for non-compliance of its direction to pay compensation to Coimbatore Consumer Cause for delay in service connection.

A.D.Thirumoorthy Coimbatore-based energy consultant said that the move to amend the regulations on compensation follows the recent TNERC order directing Tangedco to pay ₹1 lakh compensation.

“It won’t be easy for the consumer to get compensation for deficiency in service and they will have to face hardship, if the proposed amendment comes into effect,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 2:33:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tnerc-plans-to-drop-automatic-compensation-to-consumers-for-deficiency-in-service/article30284337.ece

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