RERC notifies the RERC (Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum, Electricity Ombudsman and Consumer Advocacy) Regulations, 2021

  • Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC) on March 26, 2021 notified the Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum, Electricity Ombudsman and Consumer Advocacy) Regulations, 2021 (CGRF Regulations, 2021) in exercise of powers conferred on it by Section 42 and Section 181 of the Electricity Act, 2003.
  • Some noteworthy aspects of the CGRF Regulations are as under:
    • Internal Grievance Redressal Cell (IGR Cell)
      • Each Distribution Licensee is required to have an Internal Grievance Redressal Cell to record and redress Grievances in a timely manner by way of issuance of a speaking order, i.e. within a maximum period of 30 days of filing of the grievance.
      • A consumer with a grievance may intimate the IGR Cell of such Grievance in the form and manner and within the time frame as stipulated by the Distribution Licensee in its procedures for redressal of grievances.
      • Each IGR Cell shall be required to submit a quarterly report on disposal of Complaints/Grievances to the Corporate Level Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF), which will have oversight on IGR Cell and shall monitor and review the working of IGR Cell regularly.
    • Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF)
      • A Zonal Level Forum shall be set up within three months of coming into force of the Regulations at each zonal headquarter having jurisdiction on the licensee area of entire zone including the franchisee area.
      • Each Zonal Level Forum is required to consist of 3 (three) members: (i) Chairperson, (ii) Finance Member and (iii) Independent Member wherein the Chairperson and the Finance Member are required to be the employee of the Licensee; the Independent Member is to be nominated by the RERC.
      • The staff of the Zonal level CGRF have been entrusted with the responsibility of receiving Grievances and Complaints; receive any other documents which may be required to be filed with the Forum; maintain record of proceedings; circulate matters to members of the Forum for directions and proper orders; do all other acts and deeds in compliance with Orders issued by the CGRF and perform all other all acts and things required for the functioning and the proceedings of the Forum.
    • Procedure for grievance redressal
      • A Complainant may approach the appropriate Forum (Corporate/Zonal level CGRF) if the Licensee/IGR Cell fails to register a Complaint; or if the Licensee fails to resolve a Complaint through their Internal Grievance Redressal Mechanism in accordance with the Standards of Performance specified by the RERC; or if the Consumer/Complainant is not satisfied with the Redressal of the Complaint (including dismissal) even after taking up the issue at the level of division head/circle head or appropriate IGR Cell.
      • The Consumer may directly approach the Forum with a Complaint/Grievance at the office of the Forum, which the Forum may forward to the Licensee for the necessary action and procedure of redressing the Complaint/Grievance at its level may be initiated.
      • On receipt of the grievance, the Member Secretary or any other person, as may be authorized by the Forum, shall make an endorsement on the grievance subscribing his dated initial and shall send an acknowledgement to the complainant immediately.
      • A copy of the grievance shall be forwarded within 3 days of receipt, to the designated circle wise authorised officer of the licensee for redressal or file its reply in writing. Thereafter, the Distribution Licensee may be directed to furnish its issue-wise comments on the grievance, within seven days of intimation from the Forum.
      • On receipt of the comments from the Distribution Licensee or otherwise and after conducting or having such inquiry or local inspection conducted as the Forum may consider necessary, and after affording reasonable opportunity of hearing to the parties, the Forum is responsible for passing appropriate for disposal of the grievance, within a period of 30 days and in any case not exceeding 45 days of filing of the grievance.
    • Electricity Ombudsman
      • RERC shall designate or appoint a person to be known as Ombudsman to carry out the functions entrusted to him under the Regulations.
      • The Electricity Ombudsman shall hold office for a term of two years from the date he enters upon his office subject to further extension of one year. The Ombudsman shall not hold office after attaining the age of sixty-five years, wherein, the minimum and maximum age limit would be 59 years ad 62 years on the date of advertisement.
      • The Ombudsman has been entrusted with the responsibility to receive Representations, consider such representations and facilitate settlement by agreement; exercise general powers of superintendence and control over its office and be responsible for the conduct of business thereat; may issue such interim orders at any stage during the disposal of the representation as it may consider necessary.
      • The representation to the Ombudsman is required to be duly made in writing, signed by the Complainant or his authorized representative, and receipt of the same shall be duly acknowledged by the Ombudsman by issuance of a unique case number and date to the representation.
      • After registration of the representation, the Ombudsman, may within seven days, call for records relating to the representation from the concerned Forum. Accordingly, the Ombudsman, may hear the parties, direct the parties to submit written statements of submissions and decide the representation.
      • The Ombudsman is required to pass a speaking order with detailed reasoning. While making the Order, the Ombudsman shall be guided by the evidence adduced by the parties, the principles of applicable laws and instructions of general nature, issued by RERC, from time to time, in the interest of justice.
    • Consumer Advocacy Cell
      • RERC may constitute a Consumer Advocacy Cell to provide the required legal advice, support and assistance to the Complainants for representing their cases. Further, the remuneration payable to the advocates may also be decided by the Commission.
      • The Consumer Advocacy Cell may perform additional functions like half yearly review of grievances, representations and reports submitted by the Forum, analysis of reports submitted by the Licensee with regards to levels of performance standards specified under the Electricity Act, 2003; facilitate capacity building of consumer groups and ensure their effective representation for enhancing the efficacy of regulatory process.

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