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Maharashtra government opposes Electricity Amendment Bill

11:06 AM Jul 04, 2020 | Sanjay Jog

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Government on Friday said the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill is against the Constitutional mandate and it undermines the federal structure. Energy Minister Dr. Nitin Raut in his presentation at the power minister's conference convened by the union power ministry urged the Centre to take state governments into confidence before tabling it in the parliament.

Dr. Raut argued that the state electricity regulatory commissions (SERCs) need to be allowed to decide the progressive reduction in the cross subsidy without mandating it or treating tariff policy as a guiding principle. Selection Committee for the appointment of members of SERCs should continue as earlier. The Principal Act already has sufficient provisions to adjudicate the disputes between generators and licensees by SERCs.

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"Maharashtra Government feels with SERCs having sufficient powers and authority already in place, the Electricity & Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA), a regulatory body with overlapping functions will add only a level to the regulatory processes which may not serve any purpose," he said.

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On Atal Distribution System Improvement Yojana, which aims at distribution reforms to provide a 24x7 power supply, Raut urged the Power Ministry to revise the scheme considering Covid-19 situation. "The scheme was formulated before Covid-19 and now the scenario is totally changed as the impact of the pandemic will continue for at least the next two years. The financial position of distribution companies is under stress and hence the scheme needs to be revised," he said.

As reported by FPJ, Raut reiterated that the Centre needs to provide a grant of Rs 10,000 crore to the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MahaVitaran) to tide over the cash crunch.

As far as drawal power from the renewable projects, Raut said the MahaVitaran had contracted 10,660 MW power. It has already met the non-solar renewable power obligation (RPO) targets up to 2017-18 and solar RPO targets up to 2015-16. However, MahaVitaran was not able to meet RPO target because of low response to the solar tenders, delay in commissioning of wind projects, non- adoption of tariff by Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission and higher prices lower availability of renewable energy certificates.

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