some of the provisions of the Act have become dated and archaic, needing an update. he Electricity Act, 2003 has been the statutory paradigm which has governed the laws regarding the generation, distribution, transmission, trading and use of electricity, keeping in mind the interests of the state and central departments, producers and consumers of electricity, setting rules and regulations and regulatory authorities to govern a major component of the power sector. Experts around the country have opined that
- Renewable Energy: This Amendment seeks to promote a legal and administrative ecosystem which harbours special attention to renewable energy. The Amendment, via an insertion, delegates the Central Government with the power to prepare and notify a National Renewable Energy Policy in consultation with State Governments. The said policy may also prescribe a minimum percentage of purchase of electricity from renewable sources of production.
- Cross Border Trade: The Central Government has been delegated with the power to prescribe rules and guidelines to allow and facilitate cross border trade of electricity.
- Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority: The Amendment prescribes the creation and functioning of the Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority. It has been proposed to be given sole jurisdiction to adjudicate upon matters on performance of obligations under a contract regarding sale, purchase and transmission of electricity, with the exclusion of this specialized authority’s jurisdiction on determination of tariff or any other dispute regarding tariff.
- Payment Security: There has been a lack of monitoring system in place, which created a void of a check and balance mechanism for any form of payment security. Lack of payment security mechanism has created a large pool of unpaid dues. To disrupt any future trickle down of such unrealized revenues, this Amendment proposes a mechanism wherein no electricity shall be scheduled or dispatched under such contract unless adequate security of payment as agreed upon by the parties to the contract, has been provided.
- Grant of Subsidy mandated: The benefit of subsidy to be granted directly to the consumer and the licensee shall charge the consumers as per the tariff determined by the Appropriate Commission. The determination of tariffs shall be fixed by the commission without accounting for subsidies.
- Enhancement of the powers of the Appellate Tribunal of Electricity: APTEL is proposed to have the powers of a High Court to deal with wilful disobedience of persons and entities under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. Additionally, any person can appeal the decisions of the Authority which is introduced by this Amendment in front of the APTEL.