The Union power ministry has come out with fourth draft of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill since 2014, which seeks to set up an Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority (ECEA) having power of a civil court to settle disputes related to power purchase agreement between discoms and gencos.
The draft provides that the ECEA will have sole authority to adjudicate matters related to specific performance of contracts related to purchase or sale of power, between power generation companies (gencos) and distribution companies (discoms).
The decision of the ECEA can be challenged at the Appellate Tribunal For Electricity (APTEL) and, subsequently, at the Supreme Court. The ministry has sought the comments of the stakeholders on the Bill with three weeks from April 17.
Commenting on the Bill, All India Power Engineers” Federation (AIPEF) V K Gupta told PTI, “The setting up of ECEA would dilute the power of the state and central regulatory commissions to settle matters related to PPAs (power purchase agreements) between discoms and gencos.”
Currently, state electricity regulatory commissions and Central Electricity Regulatory Commission settle state-level and inter-state PPA disputes, respectively.
He also said, “AIPEF strongly condemned the timings of the power ministry”s move to bring back the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 when the whole country is fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He was of the view that the bad experience from the COVID-19 crisis should have led to nationalise all sectors, including power, across India.