Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K.Palaniswami in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that the proposed amendments to the Electricity Act take away the power of State governments and also have a direct bearing on the independent functioning of the power sector in the state. Palaniswami said that the proposed amendments have a direct bearing on the independent functioning of the power sector in the state.
Palaniswami also urged Modi to prevail upon the Ministry of Power to put the proposed amendments to the Electricity Act in abeyance till they are thoroughly discussed with the state governments after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
The Chief Minister, recalling his November 2018 letter said that the proposed Electricity Amendment Bill had taken away certain powers of the State Government and at the same time sought to bring significant changes in the existing Electricity Act, such as separating carriage and content in the distribution sector, which would make the power utilities in the public sector totally unviable. He pointed out that the proposed new draft Bill sought to privatise not just the supply of power to the end consumer through franchisees but to also privatise the entire distribution network, which would be highly detrimental to the State utilities and against the public interest.
He also said implementing direct benefit transfer in the power sector would work against the interest of farmers and domestic consumers. Furthermore, the new draft Bill continues to have provisions for the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of subsidy provided to consumers, particularly in the agricultural and domestic sector.
The Government of India had enacted the Electricity Regulatory Commissions Act, 1998 (No.14 of 1998) on 2nd July 1998 with the objective of providing for the establishment of a Central Electricity Regulatory Commission and State Electricity Regulatory Commissions, rationalisation of electricity tariff, transparent policies regarding subsidies, promotion of efficient and environmentally benign policies and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
(with inputs from agencies)
(Image credits: PTI)