New Delhi: The power ministry on Monday extended the deadline for submission of stakeholders’ comments on the draft Electricity Amendment Bill by four weeks till 5 June.
The ministry had circulated the draft bill on 17 April 2020 with a deadline to submit comments in three weeks till 8 May.
Representational image. AP
“This ministry has received requests from various stakeholders for extension of time for submission of comments on the draft Amendments. Accordingly it has been decided to extend the time period for submission of comments/ observations/ suggestions on the draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 to this Ministry till 5 June 2020,” a ministry order said.
Earlier last month the All India Power Engineers’ Federation (AIPEF) had shot off a letter to power minister RK Singh demanding that the proposed date of receipt of comments on the draft bill should be extended to 30 September as no discussion can take place due to the lockdown.
Last month, the ministry has come out with fourth draft of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill since 2014, which seeks to set up an Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority (ECEA) having power of a civil court to settle disputes related to power purchase agreement between discoms and gencos.
The draft provides that the ECEA will have sole authority to adjudicate matters related to specific performance of contracts related to purchase or sale of power, between power generation companies (gencos) and distribution companies (discoms).
The decision of the ECEA can be challenged at the Appellate Tribunal For Electricity (APTEL) and, subsequently, at the Supreme Court.
Currently, state electricity regulatory commissions and Central Electricity Regulatory Commission settle state-level and inter-state PPA disputes, respectively.
The AIPEF had strongly condemned the timings of the power ministry’s move to bring back the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 when the whole country is fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The body was view that the bad experience from the COVID-19 crisis should have led to nationalise all sectors, including power, across India.
The ministry had brought first draft in 2014 that was introduced in the Lok Sabha seeking separate carriage and contend electricity distribution business.
The Bill could have given option to consumers to change their service providers like they do for their mobile phone service. But, unfortunately, that Bill lapsed after dissolution of the Lok Sabha. The second and third drafts were circulated in 2018 and 2019.
The AIPEF had also demanded to put the bill on hold.
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Updated Date: Apr 27, 2020 18:09:37 IST