Power min drafts new bill to make con­sumer the king

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - San­[email protected] times­group.com

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

TOI

The new Elec­tric­ity Act seeks to set stan­dards of ser­vice and make sys­tems more trans­par­ent

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