Amendment In Electricity Law Won’t Cut Subsidy To Farmers: Power Minister


New Delhi: The government today said farmers have no reason to worry over amendments to a law on electricity. Some farmers have raised concerns over any plan to change the existing system of power subsidy.
“The fears of farmers about the Electricity (Amendment) Bill are unfounded. There is no provision or proposal to change the existing system of power subsidy to farmers in the bill. Farmers will continue to get power subsidy that they are getting now,” Power Minister RK Singh told NDTV today, while announcing big reforms in the power sector for consumers.

The new set of rules, which will ensure the rights of electricity consumers, provides for penalties for power distribution utilities or discoms for not maintaining standards of services under the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules.

“It will now be mandatory to give new electricity connection in urban areas within seven days. A penalty will be imposed on service providers for any delay,” Mr Singh said.

The minister said distribution companies across the country are monopolies – whether government or private – and the consumer has no alternative, so it was necessary that the consumers’ rights be laid down in rules and a system for enforcement of these rights be put in place. “This is what the rules provide for,” Mr Singh said.

The Power Ministry in a statement said applying for electricity connection should be transparent, simple and time-bound process. “The applicant has option for online application and a maximum time period of seven days in metro cities and 15 days in other municipal areas and 30 days in rural areas to provide new connection and modify an existing one,” the ministry said in the statement.

It said no connection will be given without a meter and it should be either a “smart pre-paid” or post-paid meter.