Mumbai: Tripura Electricity Regulatory Commission (TERC) on Monday issued an order directing the distribution licensee not to disconnect the power supply of residential consumers for want of payment of bill till normalcy is restored in the wake of COVID 19 pandemic. It is the first electricity regulatory commission to issue such an order across the country. In Maharashtra, the energy minister Nitin Raut has said no supply will be disconnected, however there is no order from the regulator.
TERC in its order said,’’ Distribution Licensee shall ensure continuity of supply. Complaints related to restoration of supply as also the safety related complaints shall continue to be attended by Distribution licensee.’’ It further added that the distribution licensees may suspend other non-essential services which require visiting consumer premises or meeting consumer in person including meter reading, billing, offline bill collection at bill payment centres and release of new connections.
TERC said distribution company may allow part payment or full payment (as per their capacity) facility to the consumers even after the scheduled due date. According to TERC, for bill payment, distribution licensee should facilitate and update alternate payment mode such as digital payment mode. In the absence of meter reading the consumers should be intimated through digital channels such as email, sms, mobile app about their estimated bill computed on average basis as per Supply Code Regulations.
’’No disconnection should be carried out against non payment till restriction is withdrawn by authority. There will be waiver of 50% or partial late payment surcharge for delayed payment during the period of lockdown,’’ it added.
TERC has asked the distribution companies to issue the practice directions/instructions immediately in the interest of public interest.