Power regulators have asked for powers equivalent to a civil court for enforcing their own orders. The Forum of Regulators (FoR), representing the central and state electricity regulatory commissions, has suggested some amendments to the Electricity Act of 2003. These include regulatory independence, authority to levy penalty and clarity on the applicability of provisions of unauthorised use and theft of power.
The forum has made these suggestions to Parliament's standing committee on energy. It says power regulatory bodies need to be armed with the same enforcement power as given to a court decree, on the Lines of the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity.
An FoR official said: "We had set up a working group (on the Act), whose amendments we accepted and subsequently submitted to the (Parliament) committee."
On regulatory independence, FoR has said as a regulatory panel is a collegiate body, non-performance cannot be a ground for removal of an individual member. It has recommended that the amendments in section 90 and the clause 109A proposed by the ministry of power be dropped. It has suggested FoR determine 'normative standards of performance', which would allow for self-assessment and evaluation.
It also says an overlap between provisions in sections 126 and 135 of the Electricity Act gives unnecessary discretion to distribution companies, which often leads to harassment of consumers. Therefore, clarity be brought in these provisions by articulating distinctly the applicability of 'unauthorised use' and ''theft' of electricity.
Source- Business standard