A parliamentary panel has said that the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2014, which seeks a segregation of carriage (distribution) and content (electricity supply), does not address the need of consumers.The Standing Committee on Energy said in a report tabled in the Lok Sabha that while the issue will crop up after the segregation actually takes place, needs of the consumers is 'too vital to be left unattended'.
Senior ministers of the Government have been projecting the segregation of electricity distribution and supply as a move that will enable consumers to choose suppliers similar to mobile phone service providers.
The report also included dissent notes from three members. M B Rajesh, Member of Parliament from the CPI M said in his dissent note that while the amendments focus on creation of a retail power market, the real issue is the infrastructure deficit. He added that with deficiencies in all aspects of the power sector, segregation of carriage and content will result in windfall gains for electricity suppliers and disastrous for the end consumer.
Deepender Singh Hooda, Member of Parliament, Congress said segregation of supply would lead to private players cherry picking commercially viable areas without social obligation. "There would be limited electricity penetration in the poorer, agrarian areas of our country," he stated.
The parliamentary panel said that no mechanism has been suggested for making available the option to a consumer with regard to the choice of electricity supplier, transfer from one to another and the cost involved in such a transfer.
"The Committee observe that these issues should be addressed satisfactorily," the report stated.
The panel added that installation of meters, billing, disconnections and grievance redressal relate to all kinds of consumers and hence, require clarity from the beginning.
Meanwhile, the panel also suggested that the residential electricity rate must be levied for all schools and colleges and accordingly changes should be brought about in the Electricity Act or the Tariff Policy.
Source- The Hindu