Consumers are being ingnored: AIPEF

Consumers


DW BUREAU/PATIALA Consumers, electricity employees and engineers are being ignored in finalising the draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021, said VK Gupta, spokesperson of the All-India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF). Shailendra Dubey, Chairman of the AIPEF, has written a letter to the Union Power Minister that the ministry has circulated the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021 to a limited group of State and UT Power Secretaries for their sending their comments in two weeks. Bill 2021 proposes to replace the process of distribution license with the proposed distribution registration. In the recent virtual meeting of Union Power Minister RK Singh on February 17, a number of states, including BJP ruled states, opposed many clauses of the draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021. It seems that for the Ministry of Power only bureaucrats and big industrial houses were the only stakeholders, said VK Gupta. The Telangana government had ruled out implementing a franchisee system in the power sector proposed as part of a larger privatisation move in distribution companies (Discoms). The state government is against the privatisation of power distribution. Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh have taken the stand that it was not possible to privatise due to geographical difficulties. Moreover, in the districts where industrial belts were located would be taken over by the private sector. With the remaining areas revenue of Discom would be hit adversely and they would not be able to pay the salary and pension benefits of their employees. Padamjit Singh, Chief Patron of the AIPEF, said that the study carried out by Prayas (Energy) Group Pune showed that the results of operationalisation of parallel licensing in Mumbai had been contrary to the expectation, as it has taken place with a series of unnecessary litigations, skyrocketing expenses, steep consumer tariffs, and regulatory failure. This exposed how competition had failed in Mumbai and how consumers had suffered. Dr Pramod Deo, Ex-Chairman CERC, recently stated that the provision of consumer choice had failed in Mumbai and that the proposed amendment of Electricity Bill 2021 would not achieve the goal of consumer choice resulting in lower tariffs. Padamjit Singh said that when the experiment had failed in Mumbai. (editor@dailyworld.in)




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