Power min drafts new bill to make consumer the king
New Delhi: The power ministry is drafting a new Electricity Act to make consumer the king, set standard of service, make systems more transparent for ease of doing business and ensure viability of investments through assured payment mechanisms.
“The new Act will give the power sector a modern ring in tune with the aspirations of a new India. We had drafted amendments to the Electricity Act of 2003, which was very forward-looking for its time. But the amendments were so many, we have decided to bring a new Act,” power minister R K Singh told TOI.
The Electricity Act of 2003 is considered the harbinger of reforms in India’s power sector. The transformational measures, including separation of generation and distribution wings of state utilities and introduction of the concepts of non-discriminatory open access in transmission, resulted in flow of private investments.
“The new Act will be friendly to consumers and investors. We are saying you (the electricity system) are here to serve consumers. So consumers will have the right to choose the source. They also expect a certain standard of service (such as steady voltage, complaints being attended promptly), which you will have to give. You cannot bill consumers for your inefficiencies,” he said.
Singh said the new Act will also give comfort to investors by providing a strong legal prop for sanctity of contracts.
Singh added “The drafting (of the bill) is well under way. I have set a target of introducing it in Parliament’s winter session. It is a stiff target. Since it is an Act, it has to go to the law ministry. Then we will have to discuss with the states (as power is a concurrent subject),”.
As far as blackouts are concerned, the issue is being addressed in the tariff policy currently in the works. It proposes penalising discoms for willful blackouts.
Full report on www.toi.in
The new Electricity Act seeks to set standards of service and make systems more transparent