Govt amends Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 to promote rooftop solar & EVs

The government has approved amendments to the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 to promote rooftop solar installations and EVs
Govt amends Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 to promote rooftop solar & EVs
Govt amends Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 to promote rooftop solar & EVsEnergy Watch

New Delhi: The government has approved amendments to the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 on Friday with a view to reduce the timeline for getting new electricity connections, simplify the process of setting up rooftop solar installations and allow separate connections for charging of electric vehicles. Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy RK Singh said that the amendments empower consumers living in multi-storied flats in choosing their connection type and ensure separate billing for common areas and back-up generators in residential societies, thus enhancing transparency. The amendments also provide for check meters to be installed by distribution company in case of consumer complaints, to verify electricity consumption.

Rooftop solar systems

The amendments to the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 make way for facilitating faster installation and enhancing the ease of setting up rooftop solar PV systems at the premises of prosumers. “Exemption has been given for the requirement of technical feasibility study, for systems up to a capacity of 10 kW. For systems of capacity higher than 10 kW, the timeline for completing the feasibility study has been reduced from 20 days to 15 days. Further, in case the study is not completed within the stipulated time, the approval will be deemed to have been given,” said the Power Ministry.

Additionally, it has now been mandated that the distribution system strengthening necessary for rooftop solar PV systems up to 5 kW capacity will be done by the distribution company at its own cost. Further, the timeline for the distribution licensee to commission Rooftop Solar PV systems has been reduced from 30 days to 15 days.

Separate Connections for EV charging points

Consumers can now obtain separate electricity connections for charging their Electric Vehicles (EVs). “This aligns with the country’s goal of reducing carbon emissions and reaching Net Zero by the year 2070,” said the Power Ministry.

New connections, change in existing connections to be obtained faster

The time for obtaining a new electricity connection under the amended rules has been reduced from seven days to three days in metropolitan areas, from 15 days to seven days in other municipal areas, and from 30 days to 15 days in rural areas. However, in rural areas with hilly terrain, the time period for new connections or for modification in existing connections will remain 30 days.

Additional rights for consumers in residential colonies & flats

The amendment has introduced provisions to enhance consumer choice and promote greater transparency in metering and billing. Owners residing in co-operative group housing societies, multi-storied buildings, residential colonies, etc, will now have the option to choose from the distribution licensee either individual connections for everyone or a single-point connection for the whole premises. The exercise of the option will be based on a transparent ballot to be conducted by the Distribution Company. Parity has also been brought in the tariff charged to consumers who get electricity supplied through single-point connection and to those who avail of individual connections.

Metering, billing, and collection will be done separately for individual electricity consumption sourced from the distribution licensee, individual consumption of backup power supplied by the residential association, and electricity consumption for common areas of such residential associations, which is sourced from the distribution licensee.

Mandatory additional meter in cases of complaints

In cases where consumers raise complaints about meter reading not aligning with their actual electricity consumption, the distribution licensee is now required to install an additional meter within five days from the date of receipt of the complaint. This additional meter will be used to verify the consumption for a minimum period of three months, thus reassuring consumers and ensuring accuracy in billing.

Govt amends Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 to promote rooftop solar & EVs
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The Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister stated that the interest of consumers is paramount for the government. It is for this purpose that the government issued the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020 on December 31, 2020, thus setting standards for services provided by electricity distribution companies all over India. These rules cover aspects such as billing, complaints, compensation and timelines for new connections. They also offer support for renewable energy generation by prosumers. The Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister stated that the present amendments will further empower the consumers.

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