Maharashtra Energy Minister Dr Nitin Raut on Friday termed the central government’s proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 anti-poor and anti-farmer.
In a letter to the Union Energy Minister, Raut said the proposed Bill entirely eliminates cross-subsidy, which was envisaged as a support for consumer categories with low paying capacity, such as BPL, low-end residential consumers and agricultural consumers. The withdrawal of subsidy will have an adverse impact, Raut said on Friday.
He said the State Electricity Regulatory Commission was setting tariffs so that cross-subsidy was reduced as much as possible without causing tariff shock to any consumer category as per provisions of law. However, due to the historical legacy and background of the present tariff for various consumer categories, it was difficult for state commissions to eliminate the cross-subsidy entirely, he added.
He said every state had a different consumer base and energy needs. For example, Maharashtra has the highest number of agriculture pumps in the country and its electricity consumption is significant, whereas the same is not the in all states, said Raut.
He said tariffs should reflect the cost of electricity supply and cross subsidies should be reduced by the state commission as per the tariff policy decided by the central government.
He said the proposed amendment also provided for direct transfer of subsidy to consumers in advance and consumers were to be charged without subsidy as per the tariff determined by the state commission.
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