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Indian media coverage for research on improving electricity customer experience using ICTs

It was not the best time to disseminate research results in New Delhi, with the news media preoccupied with the accession of power by the new government. But, as Helani Galpaya said in her introductory comments at the media event, one has to get back to governance at some point.

The first news report that resulted highlights the potential of using the ubiquitous mobile phones to improve communication between electricity discoms and their customers. The headline referred to the value of transferring lessons from mobile to electricity, for example by offering prepaid service to those who could not meet the current criteria for connections.

The body is meeting state-level energy regulators from Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra to discuss the findings of the survey, which covered 1,279 people in India (Delhi and Patna).

Samarajiva also highlighted that use of mobile phones in communicating with customers about planned power cuts and complaint receipts can also play an important role in improving quality of service.

“Among the three nations, India had the highest number of people saying they received no communication in advance about power outages. Also 64 per cent of Indian MEs said they refrained from complaining as they felt there was no use. There are problems that can be addressed using SMS and make discoms more accountable to the public,” he said.

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