Guwahati: The Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL) employees staged a protest against the Electricity (Amendment), 2022, in front of Bijuli Bhawan, Paltan Bazar, on Monday.
The protesters alleged that the bill will lead to the privatisation of electricity in the state.
Power minister RK Singh introduced The Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022, in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
The Bill is aimed at allowing the privatisation of electricity on the line of communication. If the bill is passed in both houses, customers will have the option to choose an electricity supplier just like one can choose for telephone, mobile and internet services.
The Bill seeks to amend section 14 of the Act to facilitate the “usage of distribution networks by all licensees under provisions of non-discriminatory open access with the objective of enabling competition, enhancing the efficiency of distribution licensees for improving services and ensuring the sustainability of the power sector”.
Moreover, the Bill proposes to empower the load dispatch centres to stop electricity supply to distribution utilities that do not maintain adequate bank guarantees in favour of power plants with which they are in tie-ups.
“This bill will never benefit the public, it will serve only a few influential and business persons,” an APDCL employee said.
The protestors held that through the Bill, the government is allowing the private companies to supply power in profitable areas of Assam. They claimed that allowing private companies to do business in the state will only push APDCL to the margins.
“Why is the government privatising the electricity in only selected metro areas where it’s operating well, instead they should have done it in the rural sectors where it’s running in loss. Eventually, APDCL will be forced to provide electricity in loss-making areas, which in turn will make the state network a second option,” another APDCL employee said.
Besides Assam, over twenty-seven lakh power sector employees and engineers are expected to protest against the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022, across the country on Monday.
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