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News : Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission Issues Performance Standards
Nagpur, India, March 2, 2015 -- In spite of clear directives by power minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule and MSEDCL managing director OP Gupta to start toll free help lines for consumer complaints by February 25, SNDL is yet to begin work on them. The toll free numbers are long overdue. Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) had in August 2014 issued new standards of performance (SoP), rules for state`s power companies.
The new SoP made it compulsory for power distribution companies to start toll free helplines. Since MERC had given a deadline of two years, SNDL appears to have ignored the new rule. After taking over as MSEDCL MD, Gupta asked the franchisee to start these free help lines in a review meeting.
As this was not an order, SNDL again ignored it. However, when Bawankule and Gupta took SNDL to task on February 22, SNDL finally agreed to do it. In the meeting, SNDL officials agreed to start toll free numbers extremely reluctantly.
At first, they pointed out MERC had given them a two-year deadline. Several public representatives of the city took strong objection to this, which prompted the minister and the MD to order SNDL to start the numbers immediately. SNDL sought time to comply with the order.
Gupta said that the job could be done within a day by asking the service provider to bill the receiver (SNDL) instead of the caller (consumer) on the call centre number. When TOI asked SNDL officials about the toll free numbers, an official said MERC`s new norm had not been implemented since SNDL`s budget for 2014-15 had already been sanctioned by the head office. "The senior officials had decided how much to spend on each head.
As the MERC issued the order in the middle of the financial year, we could not comply with it due to lack of budget," an official said. "However, as the MD has ordered us, we will start the numbers," he added. Bawankule and Gupta had also asked SNDL to start 50 complaint centres by April.
The franchisee officials assured that the target would be met.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Wednesday, March 4, 2015