Expressing apprehension that the proposed amendments to the Electricity Act will have an adverse impact directly on the management of the states power utilities, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Tuesday demanded that the Centre withdraw the new Bill.
Rao wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing his opinion in the backdrop of the Centre asking the states to express their views on the proposed Draft Electricity Bill Amendment Act 2020, an official release said.
"The Government of Telangana wishes to convey its serious concerns on the proposed amendments, which have a direct negative bearing on the functioning of power sector in the state.
In the circumstances stated above, the government is of the opinion that the Ministry of power should be advised to withdraw the amendments proposed in the public interest," Rao said in his letter.
According to him, the proposed Bill takes away certain functions and powers of the state government such as appointment of State electricity regulatory commission, which will hit "on the core of the Federal policy which is enshrined in the Constitution."
Any national renewable energy policy should be formulated with the explicit consent of state governments, but not mere consultation as every state has its own unique positions like potential for hydro power, wind power, solar power and land availability, among others, he opined.
Rao also raised issues with regard to the scheduling of power throughout the country.
The draft Bill has a provision for Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of subsidy provided to consumers, particularly to the agriculture and domestic sectors, which, according to the Telangana government, would work against the interests of farmers and poor domestic consumers.
"It has been the policy of Telangana government that the farmers should receive 247 free power.
Mode of payment of the subsidy should be left to the state government.
Any proposal to modify the current statute on the specific subject matter will be highly objectionable to our government," the Chief Minister said.
Rao also raised objections on fixing the power tariff for all the consumers without any subsidy.
Presently terrific fixation by the Commission includes some cross subsidy to be borne by certain category of consumers.
"With the proposed amendment, power bills ought to be issued for actual cost to all the categories of consumers including agriculture.
Therefore we strongly oppose this provision," the letter said.