Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K.Palaniswami on Saturday told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the proposed amendments to the Electricity Act take away the power of State governments and also have a direct bearing on the independent functioning of the power sector in the state.
Palaniswami also urged Modi to prevail upon the Ministry of Power to put the proposed amendments to the Electricity Act in abeyance till they are thoroughly discussed with the state governments after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
In a letter to Modi, text of which was released to the media here, Palaniswami said that the proposed amendments have a direct bearing on the independent functioning of the power sector in the state.
Palaniswami referring to his letter dated November 12, 2018, where he had said the proposed Electricity Amendment Bill takes away certain powers of the state government while bringing changes in the Electricity Act, like separating carriage and content in the distribution sector making the public sector power utilities totally unviable.
"The proposed new draft bill seeks to privatise not just the supply of power to the end consumer through franchisees but to also privatise the entire distribution network, which would be highly detrimental to the state utilities and against public interest," Palaniswami said.
He also said implementing direct benefit transfer in the power sector would work against the interest of farmers and domestic consumers.
Further, despite our strong reservations, the new draft Bill continues to have provisions for the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of subsidy provided to consumers, particularly in the agricultural and domestic sector.
"It has been the consistent policy of my Government that our farmers should receive free power and it should be left with the State Government to decide the mode of payment of such subsidy," Palaniswami said.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister also said the proposed amendment bill seeks to take away the power of the State Government in deciding the constitution of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission, which is against the federal principles of the Constitution.
According to Palaniswami, the proposal to set up a parallel authority namely Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority at the Central level to handle all contractual issues, needs to be deleted as it dilutes the authority of the Electricity Regulatory Commission.