The central government is not taking away any powers of states but the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 will bring about more transparency, stated Minister of state for Power, R K Singh during a press meet through video conferencing. He further added the ministry now proposes to introduce the amendments to the Electricity Act 2003 in the coming session of Parliament.
Power and renewable energy minister Singh said that new draft of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill was ready as comments on draft have all come by June 15 and it would be introduced in coming session of Parliament once law ministry clears it. “We will try our best to introduce the Bill in the current session of Parliament itself,” said Singh.
He stated that the reforms are steps in the direction of making the sector consumer centric. Singh said, “We are not taking away any powers of states in appointment of members and chairpersons of State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs), and the proposed reforms are aimed at promoting more transparency.” Singh clarified that the powers of tariff fixation remain with SERCs.
The ministry of Power had prepared a draft proposal for Amendments in Electricity Act 2003 in the form of draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 with the following broad objectives like ensuring consumer centricity, promoting Ease of Doing Business, enhancing sustainability of the power sector; and promoting green power.
He emphasised that proposed power reforms are aimed at introducing transparency and accountability to protect the interest of consumers and ensuring healthy growth of the power sector.
He also mentioned that the states can continue providing subsidies in the power sector but that must be through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). This way the discoms remain healthy and are able to maintain and improve distribution infrastructure like transformers and distribution lines, pay for power purchased and are able to provide quality electricity to the people.
As per the proposed bill, the subsidy to be given into the account of the consumers maintained by the distribution companies (discoms) through DBT. It is being provided in the new tariff policy that the electricity supply shall not be discontinued even if the state government is unable to pay the subsidy in time or even if the state government fails to pay the subsidy for three to four months.