Electricity (Amendment) Bill likely to be introduced in Monsoon session: Power minister R K Singh

Economic Times, June 30, 2021

The Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021, which enables power consumer to choose from multiple service providers as in the case of telecom services, is likely to be introduced and pushed for passage in the Monsoon session of Parliament beginning in July.

Participating in the virtual BloombergNEF (BNEF) Summit, Power and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh said the bill seeks to delicense distribution of electricity.

“We proposed to delicense distribution of electricity just like the generation. The Cabinet note on the bill was circulated and all concerned ministries have approved it. But law ministry has one or two queries,” Singh said.

He exuded confidence that it would be sent for the Union Cabinet approval soon and hopefully be introduced and pushed for passage in the forthcoming Monsoon session of Parliament.

The Monsoon session is likely to commence on July 19 and conclude on August 13.

The proposal to seek the Cabinet approval for the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2021 was circulated in January this year and the draft law was to be pushed for passage in the Budget session.

The bill seeks to delicense power distribution to reduce entry barriers for private players for creating competition in the segment, which would ultimately enable consumers to choose from multiple service providers.

The bill also prescribes the rights and duties of electricity consumers.

The minister further said the penalty for non-compliance of renewable purchase obligation (RPO) would be increased.

Under the RPO, discoms and other large consumers are required to buy certain proportion of renewable energy prescribed by their respective regulators. They can also buy renewable energy certificates to meet the RPO obligation.

Earlier on many occasion, the minister had expressed dismay over persistent non-compliance of RPO norms, especially by state utilities.

Singh also said the Cabinet proposal for the National Green Hydrogen Mission has been circulated with concerned ministries and would soon be sent to Union Cabinet for approval.

Regarding Reliance Industries’ recent announcement of investing Rs 75,000 crore in the green energy sector, the minister said,”It is music to my ears.”

For the renewables space, he said the government is in the process of introducing ‘green tariff’.

Green tariff will help the discoms supply electricity generated from clean energy sources like solar or wind at a cheaper rate as compared to power from conventional fuels like coal.

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