Enactment of Electricity Act, 2003 provides clear impetus to the issues of consumer welfare. The preamble of the Electricity Act, 2003 makes a specific mention of protecting interest of consumers. In fulfillment of this objective, the Act, provides under subsection (5) of section (42) establishment of Forum for Redressal of Grievance of the Consumers (CGRF) in accordance with the guidelines as may be specified by the State Commission. Further, sub-section (6) of section 42 of the Electricity Act, 2003 provided for establishment of an authority to be known as “Ombudsman”. Any consumer who is aggrieved by non-redressal of his grievance under sub-section (5) can make representation to the Ombudsman, for redressal of his grievance. The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission notified the Regulations known as the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum and Electricity Ombudsman) Regulation, 2003, to provide the procedure to be followed in redressal of consumers’ grievances. The Commission evaluated effectiveness of the earlier Regulations based on experience and invited comments and suggestions from the Consumers, Consumers’ representatives, distribution licensees and Forums established by them and the Ombudsman. Based on comments and suggestions received the Commission notified Regulations in the year 2006, known as Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum and Electricity Ombudsman) Regulation, 2006, superseding the earlier Regulations of 2003.
At present there are two Electricity Ombudsmans. The territorial Jurisdiction of the Electricity Ombudsman (Mumbai) extends to Western Maharashtra, Kokan, Mumbai and Khandesh regions ( Mumbai, Mumbai Sub-urbs, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Kolhapur, Solapur, Sangali, Satara, Pune, Nashik, Dhule, Jalgaon, ahemednagar and Nandurbar Districts) and territorial Jurisdiction of the Electricity Ombudsman (Nagpur) extends to Vidarbh and Marathawada regions ( Amravati, Akola, Buldhana, Yeotmal, Washim, Nagpur, Wardha, Bhandara, Gadchiroli, Chandarapur, Gondia, Latur, Beed, Nanded, Osmanabad, Aurangabad, Jalna, Parbhani, Hingoli) Dr. Suresh Vinayakrao Joshi who served as First Chief Information Commissioner of Maharashtra State for five years has taken over as Ombudsman (Mumbai) on 20th January, 2011 and Justice Kishor Rohee has taken over as Ombudsman (Nagpur) with effect from 1st July, 2011.
Powers and Duties of the Electricity Ombudsman To receive from consumers, the Representations against the order of the Forum and consider such Representations and facilitate their satisfaction or settlement by agreement, through conciliation and mediation between the Distribution Licensee and Consumer or by passing an order in accordance with the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum and Electricity Ombudsman) Regulation, 2003 and 2006.