CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Tuesday took strong exception to The Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2014, introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 19 and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw the Bill immediately. He said considering the sensitivity of the the Prime Minister should convene the meeting of all Chief Ministers to discuss the consequences of such amendments. He also sought an immediate positive response from him on this sensitive issue.
Stating that the amendment Bill would have far reaching implications, the Chief Minister, in his letter to the Prime Minister, said these draft amendments seek to bring significant changes in the existing Electricity Act without taking the State governments into confidence and getting their concurrence on these major changes in this Act. “By separating carriage and content in the distribution sector, this Bill, in one stroke, will make all power utilities in the public sector totally unviable”, he pointed out.
The Chief Minister also brought to the notice of the Prime Minister that the amendment to the Electricity Act would make the State public sector power distribution companies further financially sick. “Such a skewed amendment to the Act without proper consultation with the State governments at the appropriate level, and without considering their views, is totally against the federal spirit of the Indian Constitution and co-operative federalism which you have been espousing”, he added.
Panneerselvam further said the amendment would give unbridled access to private players to supply power to consumers and enable them to use the already laid out distribution network of the public sector power companies.
He said without any investment in the distribution network or any responsibility to maintain the network, the proposed supply licensees would be able to access all the high value customers in commercially viable areas amounting to cherry picking without any social obligations, while the State public sector power utilities would only be left with the obligation of power supply to subsidised categories of consumers.