Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) along with the P.G. Department of Environmental law and Legal Order, Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University (TNDALU) organised a discussion on “Electricity Laws”, at the School of Excellence in Law Campus, Chennai on February 3, 2023.
The objectives of the discussion were:
- to learn the basics of electricity laws in the country and the state of Tamil Nadu
- to discuss the concepts involved in electricity laws and their impact on consumers
- to create a study circle for the students to engage in more such activities.
Around 50 students from the undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) programs participated in the discussion. The meeting was inaugurated by Professor Prof. (DR). Kumudha Rathna Director, PG Programmes, School of Excellence in Law. She shared some of her personal experiences with electricity complaints and emphasised on the importance of electricity governance and the benefits for students by gaining knowledge and exploring this sector. DR. P. Sakthivel Director, LLB (Hons. Programme) delivered a brief introduction and explained the scope of the electricity sector.
Organising committee at TNDALU and Team CAG
Mr K. Vishnu Mohan Rao, Senior Researcher, CAG introduced the importance of the electricity sector. He also explained in brief some of the activities taken up by CAG in the field of electricity governance. He clarified the objective of conducting the discussion, and gave an overview of the regulations of electricity, also discussing the techno-economic, legal and technical aspects that overlap within this crucial sector.
Ms. Akshaya, Researcher, CAG spoke about the global energy crisis and push for renewables. She also gave an overview of the importance of integrating renewable energy sources into electricity regulations. She explained that ‘electricity’ was in the concurrent list, and therefore governed by both Central and State regulations. She further elucidated the Electricity Act and the processes it seeks to regulate in the electricity system, namely, generation, transmission and distribution. The importance of open access, consumer protection and the right to electricity were also discussed. In addition to this she gave a brief overview on the Energy Conservation Act, 2001 and the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020.
Team CAG discussing with the participants
Mr. Bharath Ram, Researcher, CAG explored the role of the state in regulating this sector. He defined the composition and duties of Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO) and Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) in the state of Tamil Nadu. Bharath explained the process of determining if a meter is defective through a Meter Relay Test (MRT); and that this test can be done by applying to the MRT wing - the meter testing facility of TANGEDCO. He also laid out the framework for grievance redressal for electricity consumers. Finally, he provided a summary of the Tamil Nadu Electricity (TNE) Supply Code, TNE Distribution Code and TNE Distribution Standards of Performance.
The session ended with a lively discussion, with questions raised by students and faculty members. The discussion covered various aspects of electricity including the process of claiming compensation, common issues faced by consumers, impact of competition, tariff rates and the right to electricity.