• Kerala electricity commission simplifies application procedure

    Applying for an electricity connection would be a less hassle-free experience from now on. The Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission issued orders on Wednesday, simplifying the procedure for releasing new connections.

    The changes include a simplified application format, an online facility for filing the applications and making payments, and just two documents to be provided as proofs instead of the seven required at present. Proof of identity and proof of ownership/legal occupancy will alone be needed now.

    The norms were relaxed on the basis of an instruction issued by the state government under Section 108 of the Electricity Act in September. On some other points, the commission has sought more details from the Power Department, it is understood.

    The three-member commission headed by chairman T M Manoharan met on Wednesday to decide on the changes. On the other hand, the commission has not made any amendments to the Electricity Supply Code, 2010, although the government wanted it to ‘rework’ it to make the changes.

    “Amendments to the code will take time as it involves several steps including pre-publication of the proposed changes and public hearings. We have used the provision for ‘difficulty removal’ in the code to relax the norms,’’ commission member K Vikraman Nair said.

    It was on September 20 that the LDF government briefed the commission to ‘rework’ the supply code to simplify the process, a key requirement if the government was to keep the March 31, 2017, deadline for its ambitious total electrification project.

    In fact, the government had been specific that the changes were critical to meeting this target. So far, over 1.16 lakh people have registered in the project, according to the Power Department.??

    The changes are necessary for the government to keep its promise – through the Kerala State Electricity Board – of giving connections within 15 days of applying (within two days if new posts are not needed).

    The government’s instructions to the commission were based on a Union Power Ministry directive which sought a simpler, three-step process for releasing connections. Section 108, of the Electricity Act, 2003, requires the commission to be guided by government directives in policy matters involving public interest. Alex Lewis Jersey

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