Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source: Internet

Shimla, June 19

The HPSEB unions and engineers have warned that the move of government for tabling the electricity (amendment) bill 2021 in the Parliament in July this year, will be opposed tooth and nail. Reportedly, the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021, aimed at enabling consumers to choose between multiple service providers just like in the case of telecom services, is likely to be introduced and pushed for passage in the monsoon session of the Parliament scheduled to begin in July.
Hiralal Verma, General Secratery of the Union stated that it will be opposed collectively by all unions/association of power sectors under the banner of National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees & Engineers(NCCOEEE) in tooth & nail and warned the govt. for tabling in the monsoon session of Parliament.
He said that the main objective of Electricity (Amendment) Bill-2021 is to split Power Distribution Companies further into content(Wire Business) and carriage (Retail Supply) and to enable profit mongers to enter into retail business of urban and revenue potential area without any investment as well as license. The private companies will go cherry-picking in supplying electricity to consumers and will prefer to supply to only high revenue industrial and commercial consumers, which will drive state discom (Distribution Companies) to further bankruptcy. Verma added that the cross subsidization in tariff will be abolished in phased manner which will lead to costlier electricity to agriculture and domestic consumers.
Our state having different geographical conditions resulting there is huge variations in per unit electricity supply cost in rural areas and urban areas/ industrial areas and quantum of cross subsidization is higher than the other states, he stated. Therefore abolishing of cross subsidization will cost heavily on consumers, assumed Verma.
Obviously, this Amendment Bill will result in unbridled privatization of electricity distribution sector. The Electricity Act, 2003 allowed the privatization of generation through de-licensing which had resulted steep hike in power purchase price and now the proposed Bill will pave the path for the privatization of power distribution through
de-licensing, he alleged.
Moreover, the Centre has not been making any efforts to discuss the issues with the stake
holders’ viz. engineers and other employees etc. The move to de-license power distribution is no way to ensure efficient and cost-effective electricity supply to citizens, debated Verma.
Unless the reform is designed scrupulously taking into account ground realities, the well intended objective of choice to consumers may not be fulfilled.


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