At present CUTS is working on a project titled “A Pilot Project on Capacity Building on Electricity Reforms in Bangladesh, India and Nepal (RESA)”. This is an initiative spread over two years (2008-2010) in Nepal, Bangladesh, and two Indian states, i.e. West Bengal and Rajasthan to build capacity of consumer groups/CSOs to enable them to deal with the issues involved, take-up action research, share experiences, and carryout advocacy with policymakers and regulatory agencies to effect pro-consumer changes in the electricity regulatory/policy processes. The project additionally intends to build consumer capacity on their rights and responsibilities as electricity consumers. This project is being undertaken with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).
Some of the important activities completed so far under the project include a Baseline Consumer Survey (700 respondents in each territory) to assess consumer capacity, Territorial Trainings (in all four territories) to train representatives from grassroots level CSOs on basic electricity issues and Grassroots Interface Meetings (Phase I & II) to build capacity of grassroots consumers on relevant issues. Following this National Advocacy Seminars were organised (in India, Bangladesh and Nepal) where the main findings of the project were disseminated, discussed and deliberated upon by Policy makers, Regulators, Utility representatives, Experts and Civil Society. The foundation was laid to chart out the future course of action with respect to the power sector.
At the end of the project, a final consumer survey will be conducted to assess the project impact in creating awareness and enhancing capacity building of CSOs and also assess the next steps.
CUTS CRC has been implementing the project in West Bengal. So far the project has reached out to around 1600 grassroots consumers from 10 districts of West Bengal.