Delayed Electricity Amendment Bill expected in monsoon session

After a prolonged delay, the power ministry now proposes to introduce the amendments to the Electricity Act 2003 in the coming session of Parliament.

Power and renewable energy minister R.K. 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,” Singh said during an online press conference.

He said that amendments were key to unleash next wave of reforms in the power sector that will support all segments of the industry to grow and prosper while allowing consumers to get assured supply of electricity at competitive price.

One of the proposals in the act is to initiate the exercise of direct benefi ttransfer (DBT) in the power sector. Singh allayed concerns that DBT would result in interruption in power supplies to the consumers if state did not release its share of subsidy. Power minister said that state would transfer subsidy into the power accounts maintained by customers with discoms and even if state failed to pay, consumers paying their bills will get uninterrupted electricity supply.

The minister also said that amended tariff policy after getting cleared by GoM has now gone to the cabinet for approval. This policy would also go a long way in reforming the power sector.

“Canard is now being spread about Centre extending its influence in the appointment of regulators. We have just said that instead of setting committee for each appointment a single standing committee can be set up with a sitting Supreme Court judge as its head and members from both Centre and states. Now, we are even considering having a standing committee in each state headed by Chief Justice of High Court and members from both Centre and state for appointments. Even in this framework states can appoint their regulators while Centre can do so for CERC,” the minister said.

He said that reforms were essential for the sector and even in the proposal to cap cross-subsidy surcharge, enough time has been given to states to correct the tariff and bring down the losses.

The minister also informed that India will reach its CoP 21 commitment of taking up the level of non fossilised fuel in country’s total energy mix to 40 per cent by 2030 a decade earlier in 2020 itself and plan to take up this level to 50 per cent by 2030 now. The country has already reached 37 per cent as of now.

Singh also said that the government is looking to promote ‘Aatmnirbhar Bharat’ in the power sector by promoting the domestic industry for equipment and other machinery. He said that duty structure would be devised in a way that it promoted use of local content.

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