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CONSUMER ADVOCACY CELL AND COMPLIANCE EXAMINATION
With the enactment of the Electricity Act-2003 there has been significant progress in promoting and protecting the interests of the electricity consumers.Electricity regulatory Commissions have recognized the need to institutionalize consumer advocacy. Consumer participation in Electricity Regulatory process is necessary and important to ensure transparency and accountability of the process .The Actrequires the Electricity Regulator to consult consumers on important policy and regulatory matters before arriving at any decision.However,due to various reasons, public participation has not been effective to the desired levels.

The Electricity Act envisages to protect the interests of consumers by making it mandatory for licensees to establish Consumer Grievance RedressalForums(CGRFs) for redressal of grievances of consumers.Consumers whose grievances are not settled by the CGRF or aggrieved on the decision of the CGRF can approach the Ombudsman appointed by the State Commission.

The Consumer Advocacy Cell (CAC) under the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission is working towards creating awareness among the consumers about the power sector and the regulatory process thereby ensuring consumer participation in the Electricity Regulatory Process. CAC is aiming to enlighten the consumers about the Regulatory mechanism and their role in the functions of the Electricity Regulatory Commission by conducting classes at various centers and publishing newsletters, pamphlets , etc;

Objectives of the Consumer Advocacy Cell 

  • Promote consumer education and empower them to participate effectively in the regulatory process.
  • To act as a source of information to consumers and provide them with the necessary guidance onvarious electricityrelated issues.
  • To arrange workshops and training programmes for unorganized consumer groups.
  • To publish newsletters, pamphlets, fact sheets and other informative materials.
  • To recommend to the Commission on matters relating to consumer protection.
To enlighten the consumers about the Regulatory mechanism and their role in the functions of the Electricity Regulatory Commission, applications were invited through advertisements in media, from Voluntary Organizations, NGOs, Residents’ Associations and other consumer groups.Meetings were held with them regionally at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode on 16th Sept.2010,6th Nov.2010 & 14th Jan.2011 respectively with a view to form Consumer Forums at various places across the state to interact with the common consumers in their area. These Consumer Forums are to be educated in the Regulatory affairs and they in-turn can empower the consumers in their area through classes and distribution of pamphlets enabling them to respond and take part effectively in the regulatory process. The response was tremendous. Pamphlets in Malayalam were printed on Standards of performance, Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum & Electricity Ombudsman, Tips on Energy saving, Fees & charges payable by the consumers for various services from the licensee etc; and were distributed to the participants.

Some representatives selected from among those who attended the above meets were invited for a one day workshop to equip them torepresent the common consumers in the public hearings on the ARR &ERC (2011-’12) of KSEB.

The workshop was held at the Commission’s court hall on the 5th of April, 2011 in which around 20 representatives of consumer groups across the state participated. Dr. B. Jayasankar ,Senior Economic Analyst,KSERC conducted sessions on the various components of the ARR & ERC while Commission members Shri. Parameswaran and Shri. Mathew George led the discussions and interactive session. A few among the participants actively took part in the ARR &ERC hearings of KSEB held at Kochi on 18/05/2011 and at Thiruvananthpuram on 20/05/2011 and put forth their views and suggestions.

In addition to the formation of CGRFs & Ombudsmanfor redressalof grievances of consumers, the Commission is envisaging a lotof activities with regard to protection of consumer interests. A Consultant (Public Relations & Consumer Advocacy) is engaged on contract basis. Publication of a “Newsletter” is envisaged to enhance awareness among the public on the activities of the Commision and other related issues in the power sector.

On request from the NattikaUpabhokhtruSamrakshanaSamithi who participated in the Consumers’ meet in Kochi, an awareness class was conducted at their premises at Nattika on 12/08/2011 by a few officers and Consultants from the Commission. Around 100 participants attended the class. Officers and staff from nearby KSEB offices also were present. The real benefits of regulation can accrue only when Consumer Forums are able to act as a countervailing force on the utilities and the Regulators.

Consumer Forums should be able to respond to the challenges of a regulatory regime. Given the fact that the industry has all the resources at its command to impress upon the regulators,Consumer Forums have to muster enough strength to ensure a level playing field. Changes are occurring so fast that to catch up with required knowledge, expertise and skill to place their views effectively before the Regulators,they must search for experts and people with specialized knowledge to match that of the industry. Consumer participation under a regulatory regime is more than filing complaints in the consumer forum and getting compensation for a faulty good / belated service. Involvement in regulatory process should form part of theagenda.

Complaints of a general nature / violations of the Regulations reported to the Consumer Advocacy Cell are brought to the attention of the Commissionand taken up with the licensees for corrective actions.

COMPLIANCE EXAMINATION

All licensees in the State including KSE Board are expected to comply with the provisions of the Regulations and orders issued by the Commission.A Compliance Examiner has been posted in the Commission’s office at Thiruvananthapuram to look into the complaints /reports of non-compliance by the licensees.Consumers and general public can send reports on non – compliance or violation of the provisions of the Electricity Act-2003 and Regulations to the Compliance Examiner directly in the following address.

The Compliance Examiner,
Office of the KSERC,
KPFC Bhavanam, C.V.RamanPillai Road,
Vellayambalam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala-695 010.
Tel.0471 2735544.Fax 04712735599. E-mail: kserc@erckerala.org
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Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission
K.P.F.C. Bhavanam, C.V. Raman Pillai Road, Vellayambalam Thiruvananthapuram 695 010
Office Phone Number:0471-2735544 | Fax:0471-2735599
E-mail: kserc@erckerala.org | Website: http://www.erckerala.org
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