Power Minister may cut short the term of power regulators

Power Minister may cut short the term of power regulators

Power Minister Piyush Goyal has sought to cut the term of the members at electricity regulatory commissions from the present five years to three years sending a panic wave among the sitting members. The appointees at electricity regulatory commissions, both at the Centre and in States, are closely reading the 50-page amendments to the Electricity Act, 2003, the minister has tabled in the Lok Sabha to see if there could any escape route.There is none, apparently.

The power sector experts are trying to figure out if there is a political spin to this particular amendment to Section 89 of the Act.

The BJP win in Maharashtra, Haryana and now in Jharkhand would give the party a chance to appoint its own set of experts to the regulatory commissions after the term of the serving members expire. The outgoing regimes had appointed members at these commissions.

The present law provides for one term of five years to heads and members at the regulatory entities.

An appointee can hold office for five years or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. The Power Minister, while wanting to trim the term to three years, however, has proposed reappointment of members or the chairman for a second term of three years."The amendments represent the political agenda of the new government, and I have no issues if they are pro spective. But if they want to reduce the term of members already appointed for five years, then that is unaccept able," Karnataka Energy Minister DK Shivakumar said.

Another glaring feature of the amendment Bill is the Centre seeking to establish a firm grip over selection to the regulatory panels.As of now, the State is required to include chairman of CERC or CEA in the selection committee, but the proposed law requires both CERC and CEA representatives to be included on the panel.

Source: Economic Times

SMART GRID Bulletin March 2018

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