New Delhi: There is no proposal in the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022 for the privatisation of any existing state-owned discom, said Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy RK Singh on Tuesday. "There is no proposal for privatisation of any existing state-owned distribution licensee. They shall continue to function as earlier. The provision of multiple licensees already exists in the present Electricity Act 2003. No new concept has been introduced. The amendments propose the removal of some bottlenecks so that the existing provisions can be implemented," said Singh in a written response to a question raised in the Rajya Sabha.
On being asked if the government is reconsidering the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022 in view of large-scale protests, Singh said, "There are no large scale protests against the amendment Bill."
"The Bill does not propose any change in the present system of giving subsidised electricity to the farmers and the people. The Bill does not propose to stop or prevent or curtail the functioning of the state-owned distribution licensees/DISCOMs. They can continue functioning as before," Singh told the Upper House of Parliament.
Singh told the House that the amendment bill does not propose to change the ownership of any asset or network. "The licensee owning the network will get revenue in the form of wheeling charges, as determined by the State Commission, for its investment in network. Accordingly, the distribution licensee which uses the network shall pay the charges, as determined by the State Commission," he said.
"There is no possibility of cherry picking, as the law provides for universal service obligation and minimum area of supply, as well as minimum tariff to be decided by the State Commission, and a cross-subsidy balancing fund and sharing of the cost of existing PPAs. Thus the distribution licensee, who has industrial and commercial consumers, will have to deposit the cross-subsidy in the cross-subsidy balancing fund which shall be used by other licensees who have deficit of cross subsidy," Singh added.
"The provision for multiple licensees in the same area of supply already exists in the Electricity Act, 2003. The proposed amendment will ensure better services to consumers and electricity at competitive rates. State Regulatory Commission will also lay down a ceiling tariff and state governments will continue to have the right to give subsidies at their discretion," the minister told the House.
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