The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission ("DERC") passed a suo-moto order on April 07, 2020, for "Mitigation of impact of Covid-19 on electricity distribution licensees and consumers of Delhi", with certain exceptions and issued certain guidelines for operations relating to electricity supply to ensure uninterrupted power supply, as the Government of India had imposed lockdown in the entire country.
The Government of India, through Ministry of Power, has directed the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) to ensure uninterrupted power supply by reducing the rate of Late Payment Surcharge (LPSC) for the payments which are due beyond the period of 45 days (from the date of presentation of bill) during the period from March 24, 2020 to June 30, 2020, for power generating companies and licensees, wherein certain relaxations to the electricity consumers have also been provided. The restrictions placed by the central government regarding COVID-19 are to be treated as an event of Force Majeure.
Further to the notification passed by CERC, the DERC, after considering the submissions of DISCOMs, in exercise of its powers conferred under Regulation 168 & 172 of DERC Tariff Regulations, 2017, and Regulations 84 &85 of DERC (Supply Code and Performance Standards) Regulations, 2017, issued directions related to reducing LPSC rate at 12% per annum, rebate for beneficiaries of Delhi Generating companies and Delhi Transco Ltd. shall avail rebate as per Regulation 138 of DERC Tariff Regulations, 2017,and other relaxations.
The DERC also issued directions to DISCOMs regarding raising of electricity bills on a provisional basis for the period of March 24, 2020 to June 30, 2020 from consumers who are not covered under smart meters and automatic meter reading.
As per Regulation 30 (10) of the Regulations, the DISCOMs have prepared a provisional bill based on consumption as per readings taken during the corresponding period in the previous year.
The consumers of industrial and non-domestic tariff category had raised concerns regarding electricity bills on provisional basis for the period of March 24, 2020 to June 30, 2020, as per the reading of corresponding period of previous year since during the lockdown, the actual consumption of electricity was negligible and it would not be fair to pay such huge bills during the lockdown.
Therefore, the DERC vide its order dated 04.05.2020, in exercise of its power conferred under Regulation 85 (Power of relaxation and power to remove difficulties) of the Regulations, clarified /modified the order dated April 07, 2020, with respect to the provisional bills by the DISCOMs. The clarification/modifications/ observations are mentioned below:
- The provisional billing shall be resorted to only in those cases where the meter of the consumer could not be read/recorded by the distribution licensee during the billing cycle, otherwise the distribution licensee is required to raise the bill on actual consumption of electricity.
- Such provisional bill is to contain the fixed charges and associated applicable charges only, considering the consumption as nil.
- Where the provisional bills for such category of electricity consumers from March 24, 2020, has not been raised by the distribution licensee, the distribution licensee shall revise the bill in accordance with this Order
- In case the consumer furnishes the meter reading(s) itself along with the picture of the meter reading indicating the exact reading and the date of meter reading through registered mobile number or through e-mail, the billing for that billing cycle(s) shall be done based on these reading(s), subject to adjustment when meter is actually read/recorded by DISCOMs.
This order will provide significant relief to the electricity consumers of the industrial and non-domestic category. The provisional bills will not be raised based on reading of corresponding period of previous year and only contain the fixed charges and associated applicable charges considering the consumption as nil.
Originally published on JUNE 2020. Vol. XIII, Issue VI
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