Soon, every assembly constituency in Maharashtra will have its own electricity control committee, with the local legislator as the president and corporators among its members. The move will give elected representatives from local civic bodies, as well as the MLA, the opportunity to have a say in issues pertaining to the supply of power in the area. Explaining the move, a government resolution (GR) stated that while power supply was a necessary service, lack of coordination or communication between the consumer and the power utility service could lead to “unrest”.
“The electricity control committee at the district level and taluka level have been constituted to bring in transparency and efficiency… to provide quality service to consumers. But there was no provision for such a committee… in the jurisdiction of municipal corporations, so the committee would now be constituted in civic body limits,” it stated. The committee will work towards implementing the state government’s policies about power supply and distribution. Its members will meet once in three months and the decisions taken by it would be communicated to the state government, stated the GR.
Municipal commissioners of various civic bodies have been asked to constitute the committee within a month. The panel will also have seven independent members from various sectors, who have to be appointed in consultation with the district guardian minister. The committee would work towards implementation of the basic infrastructure plan, review efforts to recover electricity dues, check misuse of power, speed up new connections for domestic purposes, keep a vigil on solar power projects by state government, guide officers to ensure uninterrupted power supply and improved services for consumers, forward new project proposals to the concerned authority and raise funds for the same.
Civic activist Vivek Velankar, however, expressed doubts about the efficiency of such a committee. “In the last five years, the district electricity committee of Pune has met hardly twice. It remains… on paper and doesn’t meet to resolve woes of the consumers… the fate of new local committees would be the same,” he said. “The constitution of such a committee would give an opportunity to ruling political parties to accommodate their disgruntled corporators or party workers…,” he added.
Velankar said while the committee could make recommendations about power supply issues, it wouldn’t have the power to ensure that the plans are implemented, as the responsibilities of budgetary allocation and spending would remain with the power distribution company.