SRINAGAR: The Commission for Joint Electricity Regulation for the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh has introduced regulations for setting up consumer grievance redressal forums and appointing an ombudsman to tackle electricity-related issues faced by consumers. The implementation of these regulations will enable the establishment of forums and ombudsman to address and resolve the grievances of consumers in the region.
The JERC announced through a notification that distribution licensees must establish electricity consumers’ grievance redressal forums at the company level to address the grievances of complainants. These forums will provide assistance to consumers who have concerns related to non-supply, disconnection of supply, new service connections, meter-related issues, and billing-related issues. The regulations further state that licensees must ensure that consumers have a remedy in case of delay or failure to redress their complaints.
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 prosumers 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-redressed 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)