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Norms to cushion power shock

Calcutta, March 4: The State Electricity Regulatory Commission has framed guidelines for power supply agencies to clear the air on contentious issues like security deposit and disconnection.

The guidelines, which are binding on the utilities, will help Calcutta High Court settle more than a hundred cases alleging irregularities by the agencies.

In the case of new connections, the agencies are to calculate security deposit by tripling the expected bill, commission officials said. The amount would be arrived at on the basis of information on expected consumption supplied by consumers in their applications.

This would be later reviewed and the security deposit fixed at three times the average monthly bill. If the consumer has paid excess deposit, the agencies will have to return the amount within 30 days at 10 per cent interest.

The consumers will also be paid every May annual interest of 6 per cent on their deposits.

The directive also says the agencies would have to give a written notice to a consumer citing the reasons before disconnection. If supply is disconnected without the written notice, the utility will have to pay Rs 100 per day from the date of disconnection.

The regulator is also pushing the concept of consumers paying in advance and not depositing security money. A consumer would pay for the power he would like to consume and when this is used up, the connection would be withdrawn unless further payment has been made.

The panel has also asked utilities to provide new connections within 30 days of application.

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