India’s power regulatory bill in limbo

12 January 1998

The collapse of India’s coalition government has stalled the passage of the long awaited Electricity Regulatory Bill, which was to be taken up in this winter session of parliament. It is anticipated that the bill would be taken up as soon as the parliament reconvenes with a new governing party.

The bill proposed the setting up of a Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) and State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) in the various states except Jammu and Kashmir. Among other objectives, the CERC and SERC would be instrumental in bringing about tariff rationalization in the State Electricity Boards.

CERC is expected to regulate the tariff for generating companies and transmission entities owned or controlled by the central government; and generating and transmission entities in the public or the private sector catering for more than one state.

It was also charged with the adjudication of disputes involving generating companies or transmission entities in the central sector or in the public or the private sector catering for one or more states. CERC would consist of three members and a Chairman. The Chairman of the Central Electricity Authority will be a member and ex-officio of the commission.

The main functions of the SERC, according to the bill, are to regulate the bulk tariff of generating companies and transmission entities functioning within the states as well as to determine the retail tariff, including the wheeling charges for the boards and licensees. SERCs are also responsible for the issue of licences in regard to generation, transmission and distribution and the supply of electricity by entities operating only within the state. A three-member state commission will be appointed by the state government on the recommendations of a selection committee. The state government will nominate one of the members as the Chairman of the commission. The selection procedure of the state commission will be as prescribed by the state government.



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