New Delhi, India --- (METERING.COM) --- January 4, 2010 - Under new standards proposed by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), the penalties for power distribution companies (discoms) that fail to attend a range of customer issues timeously may be increased by up to 400 percent.

And for the first time, discoms will be required to pay compensations to consumers if they fail the performance standards, even without a consumer complaining. If they don’t pay up, the amount will increase five times.

“No other performance standard in the country has such stringent provisions,” commented DERC secretary A.K. Tewary, on the launch for comment of the draft Delhi Electricity Supply Code and Performance Standards Regulations. “We plan to make complaint, compensation and redressal a transparent and hassle-free experience for consumers.”

Under the draft regulations complaints about meter accuracy or defective or stuck meters must be addressed within 3 days, and if a new meter is required it must be installed within 4 days thereafter. Meter theft cases will be required to be conducted in the presence of at least one respectable and independent witness of the locality, and meters removed under suspicion of tamper must be replaced within 2 days.

Similarly billing complaints must be resolved and the result intimated to the consumer within 7 days of receipt.

The penalty for failing the meter testing deadline is set at Rs 100 (US$2) per day, up from the current Rs 25, while failing to address billing complaints is set at 10 percent or 20 percent of the billed amount, depending on the nature of the complaint.

The proposed new standards are intended to replace the existing standards, which were passed in 2007.

Comments on the proposed standards are due by January 18.