Kerala Assembly passes resolution demanding Government to withdraw Electricity (Amendment) Bill
Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021, will give the Central Government more power over the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs). It will also give the Government the power to entrust the functions of the State regulator to any other State Commission.
The Kerala Assembly on August 5, 2021, unanimously passed a resolution demanding the Central Government to withdraw the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
K Krishnankutty, in the House, moved the resolution in the Assembly which is proposed to be present in the Parliament.
The State Electricity Minister, before moving the resolution in the House, said that the Central Government failed to discuss with the States the electricity amendment bill and was unable to reach a consensus.
As both the Central and State Governments have the right to make laws in the matter of power distribution, the Government must be committed to discuss the matter with the States and reach a consensus.
Electricity (Amendment) Bill: All you need to know
• The amendment bill will enable the private companies to enter the power distribution sector and notably, no license will be required for that.
• The State Government or the Electricity regulatory commission will not have any form of control over the private companies in the public sector.
• The criteria for the private firms to enter this sector will be decided by the Central Government and the amendment will take away the power of State Governments in the Power Sector.
• The proposed amendments in the bill will give the Central Government more power over the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs). They will also give the Government the power to entrust the functions of the State regulator to any other State Commission.
Why there is opposition against the amendment bill?
The private companies, with this amendment bill, will not have any form of obligation to invest in the sector or laying new electricity lines to carry electricity or maintenance.
The companies will be able to use the existing lines which will help them to stop their operations if the targeted profits are not collected. It will further create uncertainty in the power sector.
The amendment in the bill does not deny the private companies to distribute the electricity for all and if this continues, it will lead to a concentration of industrial and commercial clients on a large scale in urban areas. Eventually, it will become the responsibility of the public sector to provide electricity to poor sections.
The other issue which was also highlighted in the assembly was that when the Central Government enters into the power sector, the right of power distribution, which was with the State Government earlier, will lie in the hands of the Center. This will undermine the federal principles.
The Central Government has decided to introduce the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021, in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament, however, the bill has started seeing protests from various state governments as well as from the power sector workers.