REC Joins Hand with J-PAL South Asia for Data-based Assessment of Discoms

With an aim to improve consumer service delivery and ensure reliable electricity supply to consumers, power sector major lender REC Ltd has entered into a data-sharing agreement with Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) South Asia.

September 23, 2021. By Manu Tayal

With an aim to improve consumer service delivery and ensure reliable electricity supply to consumers, power sector major lender REC Ltd has entered into a data-sharing agreement with Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) South Asia.

The agreement would help in creating an annual, data-based assessment of 79 public and private power distribution companies (Discoms) across the country.

During a ceremony, the agreement was signed between Executive Director of REC, R Lakshmanan (IAS) and Shobhini Mukerji, Executive Director of J-PAL South Asia.

Under this partnership, Navratna company REC and J-PAL South Asia joined hands to leverage existing data on Discoms’ services to diagnose trends and identify gaps in the quality of power supply.

Moreover, these datasets would be used to create a ‘consumer service index’ that will rank companies based on dimensions of service delivery i.e. supply hours, grievance redressal systems, and billing details and timelines among others.

Additionally, the two organisations would further address the challenges faced by Discoms that emerge from this yearly assessment as well as pilot and test potential solutions using randomised evaluations.

Besides, J-PAL South Asia would also conduct scoping studies to evaluate the effectiveness of innovative solutions like smart metering for more accurate and transparent billing systems as well as other programmes undertaken by REC.

Through this partnership, both the entities aim to provide a transparent and evidence-based channel for Discoms to identify gaps in their services as well as ensure a more reliable supply of power to households in line with the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules of 2020.

However, the annual ranking report of Discoms would also be available to the public, creating pathways for greater accountability in the provision of electricity across states, the Power Ministry said.

Meanwhile, J-PAL South Asia would also provide REC with technical research support, led by Professor Nicholas Ryan (Yale University; J-PAL-affiliated Professor), and capacity building on data collection and usage.
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