Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) organised a State-level Electricity Consumer Cells (ECCs) meeting on November 07, 2019, at The Raj Park, Chennai. The objective of the meeting was to discuss the progress of the ECCs and to understand the various challenges faced by the ECCs functioning in Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Tirunelveli, Tiruvannamalai, Salem, Tiruchirappalli, and Vellore districts.
Mr. Vishnu Mohan Rao, Senior Researcher, CAG, welcomed all the participants. He explained the importance of conducting the meeting which is to summarise the progress of ECCs from January 2019 to October 2019.
Image 1: Mr. Vishnu Mohan Rao, explaining agenda of the meeting
Mr. G.N.Bharath Ram, Researcher, CAG, gave a presentation on the progress of all ECCs between January 2019 to October 2019. All the seven ECCs received a total number of 741 complaints during the above mentioned period, which included domestic, commercial and small scale industries, and agricultural consumers. He listed out the outreach meetings and capacity building programmes conducted by ECCs. As of October 2019, there are 2,688 consumers who are the beneficiaries through these programmes.
Image 2: Mr. G. N. Bharath Ram, speaking about the progress of ECCs
Mr. Balaji M K., Researcher, CAG, presented a multi-aspect detailed analysis about consumer advisories viz. 1) Status of complaints - resolved, pending and closed; 2) Nature of complaints - billing related, meter related, service related, power quality related, infrastructures related, and miscellaneous complaints; 3) Gender-wise - complaints registered by male, female and transgender complainants; 4) Based on consumer categories - domestic, commercial, small scale industries, agricultural. He also explained about other activities such as puppet shows for creating awareness, training programme for college students.
Image 3: Mr. Balaji M K., explaining the progress of ECCs
Mr. Selvaraj, Chairman, Federation of Consumer Organisations Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry (FEDCOT) shared experiences of ECC Tiruvallur in resolving consumer complaints. He mentioned that TANGEDCO officials are encouraging the work of ECC and also maintaining a healthy relationship. He also explained about the positive responses received from the electricity consumers.
Mr. Radhakrishnan, ECC Advisor, Cuddalore explained about the difficulties faced in organising outreach and capacity building programmes in rural parts of Cuddalore district. He also explained about the complaints that involved other local bodies e.g. street light issues.
Mr. Shanmugam, ECC Advisor, Tirunelveli, shared his experience in resolving infrastructure related complaints e.g. distribution line crossing near school buildings, dislocation of high voltage junction box which is highly dangerous. He also mentioned the outreach of ECC in the wide spread Tirunelveli district.
Mr. Ramaperumal, Director, Sadayanodai Ilaignar Narpani Mandram (SINAM), gave a presentation on work done by ECC Tiruvannamalai in solving consumer issues. He also shared experiences in resolving agricultural consumer issues and creating awareness about solar agricultural pumpsets.
Mr. J. M. Bhoopathi, Founder, Consumer Voice Foundation, Salem, spoke about the consumer rights in contacting the TANGEDCO section office to resolve complaints. He emphasised the importance of consumer participation for the betterment of the electricity sector and remarked that the capacity building programmes for the different categories of consumers play a significant role in improving the quality of consumer participation.
Ms. Kumari T, Managing Trustee, National Level Educational and Training Trust (NEST) shared her experience in organising outreach meetings and capacity building programmes. She explained the cordial responses from the consumers side as well as the TANGEDCO side.
Ms. Vanaja, Director, People’s Action Service Society (PASS) shared her experience in approaching TANGEDCO officials for redressal of consumer complaints. She also explained about difficulties in engaging different categories of consumers.
Mr. Jeya Kumar R, Researcher, CAG, gave a presentation on KUSUM (Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan) Scheme. He gave an overview on all the three components of the scheme such as 1) Component A - grid connected solar or any other renewable energy plants; 2) Component B - standalone solar agriculture pumps; 3) Component C - solarisation of grid-connected agriculture pumps.
Image 4: Mr. Jeya Kumar R, presenting about KUSUM scheme
Mr. Nagesh Kumar J, Director, Centre for Energy, Environment and Productivity (CEEP) gave a talk on passive buildings. He explained the role of building materials and passive construction techniques in energy conservation. He also added the importance of renewable energy for a better future.
Mr. Vishnu Mohan Rao, Senior Researcher, CAG concluded the meeting with a vote of thanks.