Success Story of Dahanu Society for Fast Justice & Rights of Electricity Consumers
By Santosh Shetty, Immediate Past President & Narendra Patel, President, Society for Fast Justice, Dahanu Dist: Palghar, Maharastra
Dahanu area in Palghar district of Maharashtra which is located on the western coast of our country close to Gujarat, was facing erratic power supply with frequent interruptions. Our Dahanu Society for Fast justice is a leading NGO in the Area that has earned huge reputation of assisting the local populations on the problems they face by taking up their grievances/ injustice so as to arrive at a solution. We like to share here with our success story in the matter of irregular & erratic power supply with frequent interpretations for which people of the area suffered a lot but State public sector power distribution company (MSEDCL) failed to even respond positively to the demand for improvement in power supply.
On 30-06-2017 and 01-07-2017 a small area of the Dahanu town faced non-supply the electric power for a very long duration. The power supply company’s record shows that as many as 18 interruptions took place during about 33 hours. Hence we decided to try to intervene in larger public interest for which we began with in-depth study of the Electricity Act and various Regulations in order to take up the matter of payment of compensation for the consumers who suffered due to lack of continuous electric power supply.
Rights of Electricity Consumers
All the States in India have constituted State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) vide Section 82* of the Electricity Act 2003 (36 of2003). The said SERCs have issued notifications to establish The Consumer Grievance Redressal Forums vide powers conferred on them by Section 181**read with Subsection *** 5 to 7 of Section 42 of the said Electricity Act 2003 (36 of 2003). Even the SERCs have made Standard of Performance Regulations for Electricity Licensees (Suppliers of Electricity) by exercising their powers vide ****various provisions of the said Electricity Act 2003.
The level of compensation payable to consumers for failure to meet Standard of Performance is also provided in the aforesaid Regulations. In Maharashtra, the same is provided in Appendix A (the copy of which is appended herewith) of Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (Standard of Performance of Distribution Licensees, Period of Giving Supply and Determination of Compensation) Regulations 2014. You may find similar provisions in other SERC Regulations. You may get the same on the concerned websites e.g. for Gujarat it is:- www.gercin.org, for Delhi:-derc.gov.in, Madhya Pradesh it is mperc.nic.in for Tamilnadu:- terc.in.nic.in and so on for other states.
We like to share that the procedure we followed is that the consumer has to file an application for his grievance to Internal Grievance Redressal Cell (IGRC) of the Licensee.(supplier of electricity). The form for filing application to IGRC prepared by the Society for Fast Justice, Dahanu is appended herewith as Form- I. If the grievance is not settled satisfactorily the same need to be filed to Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum in form prescribed in the SERC Regulations of concerned State (in Maharashtra in form Schedule A copy of which is appended herewith). If the consumer is not satisfied even with the decision of the CGRF he can make Representation to State Electricity Ombudsman (Vidyut Lokpal) in the prescribed form (in Maharashtra in form Schedule B [copy appended herewith]). Please note that no fees, charges or stamp duties is payable on any of the applications as stated herein above.
The Society for Fast Justice – Dahanu helped in filing more than 60 applications to CGRC. We are pleased to say that our efforts to seek monetary compensation, 78 applications have been allowed but the amount is less than the amount claimed. Hence, we have taken up the matter taken up with the State Ombudsman (Vidyut Lokpal) which is pending for justice.
The said Vidyut Lokpal has issued notice to the Licensee (MSEDCL) in the matter and result will come very shortly. 28 more applications for another period of non-supply of power are getting ready to be filed to CGRF office.
Our colleagues in various societies for Fast Justice in the country can take up such activities of consumer awareness and also help local populations in their respective areas. For any clarification/guidance in the matter, we shall be pleased to provide technical help through email.