JK to have consumer forums, ombudsman for electricity-related complaints
Srinagar: The Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir would soon have consumer grievance redressal forums and an ombudsman for resolving electricity-related problems of consumers.
The Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission for UT of J&K and Ladakh has unveiled regulations for establishing consumer grievance redressal forum(s) and for the appointment of an electricity ombudsman by the Commission.
In a notification, the JERC said that every distribution licensee shall establish electricity consumers’ grievances redressal forum(s) at the company level to ensure redressal of the grievances of the complainants.
These consumers can approach these Forums over non-supply, disconnection of supply, new service connection, meter-related issues, and billing-related issues. “They shall ensure that consumers can also have a remedy in the event of failure or delay on the part of the distribution licensee in redressing their complaints,” the regulations state.
These Forum(s) shall settle the grievances of the consumers within a period of 30 days normally and not exceeding 45 days in any case, the regulations further state.
The Forum shall be headed by the Managing Director of the licensee, the Director Finance of the licensee, an independent member, and not more than four as consumer/prosumer members.
The independent member shall be an individual possessing a minimum bachelor’s degree preferably in engineering ( electrical /mechanical/ electronics/ computer )/ law/ public administration/ journalism/ economics /political Science or equivalent having at least 5 years of experience in power sector related matters.
The members as consumer and prosumer representatives shall be appointed by the licensee with the consent of the Commission who have attained the minimum age of 35 years and who have been consumers /prosumers of licensees.
The Regulations state that the Commission may appoint the electricity ombudsman or ombudsmen to discharge the functions as mandated under the Electricity Act-2003.
“The Commission may appoint or designate electricity ombudsman or ombudsmen separately for each licensee or a common electricity ombudsman or ombudsmen for two or more distribution licensees considering factors such as the number of representations received, disposal of representations within the specified time limit, ease of access for the consumers and the geographical area,” the regulations further state.
According to the regulations, a complainant may prefer a representation before the ombudsman if he/she is aggrieved by the non-redressal of the grievance by the Forum within the period specified.
The complainant can approach the ombudsman if he /she is not satisfied with the order passed by the Forum, and if he/ she is aggrieved by the non-implementation of the Forum’s order by the licensee. (KNO)