Indian electricity sector has seen significant changes over the last decade, initiated by the Electricity Act 2003. The Act allows anyone to set up power plants, while making transmission, a government company, and distribution being government or privately owned. The Act has also strengthened the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) which are empowered to set the tariff for various consumer categories. The Act also has enabling provisions for participation of consumers in the functioning of the electricity sector such as planning, policy, regulatory matters (price setting etc) and provides venues to redress grievances.
However, it is seen from experience that electricity consumers do not have adequate knowledge of these institutions and processes. Further, lack of technical, policy, administrative and regulatory knowledge pose a serious challenge in enabling consumers to take advantage of the above to demand quality power supply. As a result, there is a constant need to empower and educate electricity consumers about their rights. Education comprises of making them understand their rights to access and demand quality electricity services, provide quality inputs in the governance of the electricity sector while increasing consumer participation to push for transparent and accountability in its functioning.