23 July 2004, Hindustan Times

CONSUMER ORGANISATIONS gathered here at a workshop on Thursday suggested changes in the Rajasthan Electricity Bill 2004 for making it more consumer-friendly particularly for agricultural and rural consumers. CUTS, an NGO dealing in consumer affairs, has organised this workshop.

Participating in the workshop, Energy Minister, Gajendra Singh Keenwasar said the State Government is committed to speed up the electricity reforms keeping in mind common customers and employees of electricity corporations.

Chief Advisor, National Council for Applied Economic Research, Gajendra Haldia who has drafted the Rajasthan Electricity Bill 2004, interacted with the representatives of consumer organisations from all over the state and gave them information about the drafted bill.

Representative of a consumer organisation of Bhilwara, Bhanwar Lal Vyas said that the consumers should be made to pay for the maintenance of the Discom’s instructural losses. Consumers have been paying for 40 to 50 percent of Discom’s losses. This figure is very low in other countries, he added.

Another consumer organisation member, Hari Prasad Yogi of Sawai Madhopur said a welfare fund should be made in the bill to create consumer awareness and advocacy. Distribution companies should be accountable for the quality and quantity of their distribution, said another representative from Kota, Fazar Mohammad.

Mahendra Ojha from Jalore said the time and quality of supply should be the decisive factors for tariff determination, especially in terms of rural customers. Farmers mostly get power supply during nights that helps the distribution companies maintain their load curve flat, he added.

However, Durga Soni, a consumer organisation representative from Jaipur said that Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC) should incorporate suggestions of people before implementing any decision regarding electricity changes.