11 Aug Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022
Electricity Amendment Bill 2022
The article talks about how the Electricity Amendment Bill 2022 impacts Indian Polity and Governance-constitution.
Why in the news?
- Union power minister R.K. Singh tabled the Electricity Amendment Bill 2022 ignoring the opposition of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha.
- Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal objected to the proposed bill, as it can target the provision of free electricity in his state of Delhi.
- Farmers and power sector employees ( Eg. Telangana power employees) also protested against the bill.
Why this protest on Electricity Amendment Bill 2022 ???
|The Bill provides for the constitution of the Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority (ECEA). The ECEA will have sole authority to adjudicate upon specified contract-related disputes in the electricity sector. A common selection committee will be constituted to select the chairperson and members of the Appellate Tribunal (APTEL), the central and state regulatory commissions (CERC, SERCs), and the ECEA||The proposed common selection committee will have chief secretaries of two states as members, by rotation. A concerned state may not have a representative in the committee when recommending appointments to its SERC. This can go against the federal structure.|
|Provisions vis-à-vis graded revision in tariff over a year besides mandatory fixing of the maximum ceiling and minimum tariff by the appropriate commission.||Free power for farmers and the Below Poverty Line population will go away eventually.
|Only government discoms or distribution companies will have universal power supply obligations.||Hence it is likely that private licensees will prefer to supply the electricity in profit-making areas – to industrial and commercial consumers
Therefore, profit-making areas will be snatched from government discoms and they will become loss-making companies
|Converting the rate of punishment from imprisonment or fine to fine.||This will weaken the hold of the government on the culprits.|
|The amendment talks about the participation of private players along with state-authorized/owned power distribution companies for electricity distribution, given they get the license. It also says that distribution licensees can use the distribution systems of other licensees in the area of supply through a system of non-discriminatory open access on payment of wheeling charges.||This would eventually lead to the privatization of the power sector and hence the power sector employees are protesting.|
What is the government’s stand?
- This would eventually phase out free power political promises and make energy more equitable( PM Modi called this the “Revri Culture”)
- No provision in the bill reduces the power of the state to regulate the power distribution sector, power, or subsidy.
- The push for RPO (Renewable Purchase obligation) which is mentioned in the bill will fulfill India’s power demand which is going to double in the next 8 years.
- It is considered to be done to end the “license raj”.
The bill is currently sent to the standing committee in order to provide the scope of accommodation to the reservations of the protestors. Though the intent of the government of the day is to reform the debt-laden power sector any step in this direction must involve the opinions of all the stakeholders. This would uphold the spirit of democracy and participation in true letter and spirit.
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