The power ministry has proposed a slew of amendments to the Electricity Act, 2003, in a bid to remove anomalies in its implementation. The ministry has proposed amendments to Section 11 to curb its alleged misuse by state governments and prohibit the sale of surplus power from generating units to entities outside a state.
It has proposed an appropriate government may specify that a generating company shall, in extraordinary circumstances, operate and maintain any generating station in accordance with the direction of that government.
The ministry said, “For Section 11, ‘extraordinary circumstances’ mean those arising out of threat to the security of a state, a public order or a natural calamity, or other circumstances arising in public interest, except for the implementation of open access, as envisaged in the Act.”
The ministry’s proposal has secured support from the Forum of Regulators, an apex body of power regulators. The forum said, “The Act may be amended to provide greater clarity on the meaning of the ‘extraordinary circumstances’ mentioned in Section 11.”
A power ministry official told Business Standard, “The proposed amendments would be looked into by a committee appointed recently.”
Pramod Deo, chairman of the Forum of Regulators and the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, said the forum had discussed these amendments.
The ministry’s move is crucial, given several states were resorting to invoking Section 11, citing rising power shortages. These were asking all power generating stations to operate at their full capacity and supply power within the state. Recently, states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had exercised their powers, invoking Section 11.
While the ministry has also proposed an amendment to Section 61(1), the Forum of Regulators said amendments in Sections 62 and 63 would introduce more clarity. However, it said determining generation tariff should be based on competition.