AIPEF Continues to Rally Against Electricity Bill, Urges CMs to Seek More Time for Comments

AIPEF has urged CMs to seek more time from the government for the submission of comments on the draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021.

The All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) has urged chief ministers (CMs) to seek more time from the central government for the submission of comments on the draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021. 

“AIPEF has urged all the Chief Ministers and Lt. Governors to seek at least three months’ time from the central government for the submission of comments and suggestions by all the stakeholders, particularly electricity employees and consumers, on the draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021 after putting the draft in the public domain,” V K Gupta, a spokesperson of the AIPEF, said in a statement.

AIPEF Chairman Shailendra Dubey has written a letter to all the CMs with a copy to the principal secretaries (power) of all states and chairpersons of state Discoms “To take up the issue of (unnecessarily) rushing through the bill.” He also urged that the issue be taken up during the scheduled virtual meeting of Power Minister R K Singh with all states on February 17, 2021, to discuss the proposed amendments to the Electricity Act 2003.

According to the statement, at present, the bill has been circulated only to principal secretaries of states and CMDs of state Discoms and therefore lacks transparency as required under the Electricity Act 2003. The most important stakeholders are consumers and power employees and engineers of state discoms who have been completely ignored, it alleged.

Even the comments from statutory bodies like Central Electricity Authority (CEA), State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs), Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) and the forum of regulators have not been sought, as per the statement. 

The body also claimed that there was strong opposition to the Electricity Bill 2020. Gupta stated that instead of using this opportunity to review the performance of the Electricity Act 2003, legislative changes are being made on an ad-hoc basis to suit certain interests. Such measures may cause more damage than good. There should be sufficient debate on the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021, both in the public domain and in Parliament, he added.

In November 2020, we had reported that power sector employees on November 26, 2020, had held nationwide protests against the government’s decision to privatise Discoms. They also demanded the withdrawal of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 and the scrapping of the standard bidding document (SBD). 

“Lakhs of power sector employees including engineers, today held nationwide protests seeking the withdrawal of Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020, scrapping of SBD and opposed the privatisation of power distribution companies (discoms) in states and union territories,” V K Gupta had said at the time.

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