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FEB 28 2018

Bill on 'right to electricity' likely in monsoon session

  • Economic Times, ET Bureau / Hyderabad
  • Created: Wed 28th FEB 2018

 

The government is planning to introduce a bill in the monsoon session of Parliament which proposes to make right to electricity a reality and hold the distributors accountable for failing to provide round-the-clock power under normal circumstances from April 2019.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a deadline of April 1, 2019, for ensuring that each household in the country gets 24x7 power supply, people aware of the matter said. Although production targets have already been met, transmission of electricity to all villages should be achieved by April this year, they said.

“The major bottleneck is distribution and not production and transmission of power,” said a senior power ministry official, who did not wish to be identified. Distribution companies or discoms have been found to be cutting power supply for a few hours every day mostly due to “commercial reasons”, to curtail losses, and not due to technical faults, the official said.

The bill will seek to penalise the distributors for failing to provide power to consumers under normal circumstances — when there is no breakdown or any technical glitch. The production of thermal and hydro power is more than required in the country, according to the people cited earlier, who said that transmission targets are set to be met before the deadline. While the government had set May 1, 2019, as the deadline for electrification of all villages, only 935 villages are left without electricity. The government is hopeful of covering them by April 15, an official said.

In May 2014, four crore households were still to be electrified. Of these, 29,33,000 have been covered till date under the Saubhagya scheme that was launched on October 11, 2017. Under the new rules, a household is considered electrified only after the first electricity bill has been entered in the ledger.

 

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