BHUBANESWAR: Power sector employees of the State have urged the Government to oppose the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2014, which seeks to extend privatisation to power distribution.Supporting the nation-wide protest by National Coordination Committee of Electricity Employees and Engineers (NCCoEEE), the Joint Forum of Odisha Electricity Employees and Engineers, an umbrella organisation of power sector employees of the State, took out a rally here on Wednesday protesting the proposed amendment in the Electricity Act, 2003.In a memorandum to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the joint forum said the State Government should oppose the Bill in the Parliament as it is detrimental to the consumers and will push the sector to further financial and operational disaster.
The Electricity (Amendment) Bill is proposed to bifurcate the distribution function of the power sector into carriage (infrastructure) and the actual sale. In order to give choice to consumers through competition in different segments of electricity market, concept of multiple supply licensees is proposed by segregating the carriage from content in the distribution sector and determination of tariff based on market principles, while continuing with the carriage (distribution network) as a regulated activity.To protect the interest of consumers, the tariff for retail sale of electricity is proposed to be capped through the Regulator and one of the supply licensees is proposed to be a Government controlled company. Further, the existing distribution licensees are proposed to continue till the expiry of their term as specified in their licence.
Convenor of the forum Biswaranjan Mishra said, Odisha pioneered power sector reforms in 1995 by privatising the distribution sector. However, the State miserably failed to achieve the objective even after more than two decades. “We urged the Government to set up a commission to review the performance of the private distribution companies and franchises. It should also review the Odisha Electricity Reforms Act, 1995 and study the reasons of failure,” he said.The other demands of the forum include immediate implementation of recommendations of 7th Pay Commission in power sector with introduction of special pay for power employees.