Minister wants Centre to withdraw proposed electricity Bill

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Mumbai, Jun 3 (PTI) Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut on Wednesday asked the Centre to withdraw its proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020, saying it 'clearly violates' the constitutional mandate and undermines its federal structure.

The Congress leader also said that the Centre should focus on decentralisation of power for transparency and efficiency.

Expressing his concern over the proposed amendments in the EA Act 2003, Raut alleged the Centre intends to 'override and dominate' the state governments' responsibility in the administration of power generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.

The Union power ministry had in April come out with the fourth draft of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill since 2014, which seeks to set up an Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority (ECEA) having power of a civil court to settle disputes related to power purchase agreement between discoms and gencos.

The draft provides that the ECEA will have sole authority to adjudicate matters related to specific performance of contracts related to purchase or sale of power, between power generation companies (gencos) and distribution companies (discoms).

'The seventh schedule of the Constitution of India empowers both, the central and state governments to enact laws on matters related to electricity as it is included in the concurrent list.

'However, with proposed amendments, it is obvious that the federal structure of electricity wherein the Centre and state governments are responsible is being interfered,' he said in a statement.

He said the existing provisions empowering state governments as well as state commission to take appropriate decisions/make rules and regulations after considering the state-specific issues need to be continued.

'Hence, the Centre should withdraw the draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 proposed by the Ministry of Power, Government of India,' Raut said. PTI ENM NSK NSK