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Hyderabad: Minister G Jagadish Reddy frowns at Centre's power Bill

Minister G Jagadish Reddy frowns at Centre’s power Bill
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Minister G Jagadish Reddy frowns at Centre’s power Bill

Highlights

The Telangana government on Tuesday urged the Centre to withdraw the Electricity Bill stating that it was against federal spirit and also takes away rights of the States.

Hyderabad: The Telangana government on Tuesday urged the Centre to withdraw the Electricity Bill stating that it was against federal spirit and also takes away rights of the States.

Making a statement in the Assembly, Energy Minister G Jagadish Reddy said that before taking any decision on the State subject, the Centre should take the opinions of the State governments. Though the electricity is in concurrent list, the Centre is proposing to bring amendments to Electricity Act, 2003, which is against the federal spirit and an attempt to take away the rights of States.

The Minister said that the electricity production, supply system run by the government sector companies and State governments take decisions based on the needs of the people. The Telangana government has been providing 24-hour free power to farmers, who faced problems and were debt-ridden for decades.

The new Central Act would take away the free power and also other subsidies. With the new Act, the Centre would appoint the Regulatory Commission and there will be no provision of subsidies.

Every consumer would be asked to fix meters and would be charged for the number of units they consume. If the State government provides subsidy, it has to deposit the money into their bank accounts, said the Minister.

Stating that there were 25 lakh pump sets in the State and with the new Act the farmers would have to fix meters for their pump sets. The farmers will have to pay the power bills every month for the electricity they consume. The Discoms would require Rs 700 crore to fix this number of meters and for meter readers they would have to incur another Rs 7.5 crore per month as salaries to them, the Minister said.

The Minister further said that the new Act would take away the cross subsidy system being implemented in the State and also remove the existing tariff system. With the new Act, the Centre has the discretionary power to decide the extent of renewable energy needed for the State. Presently, the State purchases power wherever it is cheap but with the new Act, governments would ensure more production in wind, solar, biomass, municipal waste and other renewable energy.

The hydel power stations would also be included in the renewable energy and in this case, the Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar projects would not be there in the State, claimed the Minister. If the States consume more power than the prescribed limit the Centre can impose a penalty of 50 paise to Rs 2 per unit.

The Minister said that Discoms are slated to face huge losses with the provision of an open access system. He said that the distributary sub-license system would mean the Discoms would lose control and this is to encourage private players in the sector.

The new Act provides the Centre the power to make appointments to the Electricity Regulation Commission. He said that the State government strongly opposes the new Electricity Bill.

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