The Central government is planning to amend the Electricity Act, 2003 to bring in more reforms to protect both consumers and investors in the sector. The Bill, being drafted by the Ministry of Power with a target to introduce it in the Parliament's winter session, will have a new consumer friendly tariff policy. Consumers will be able to choose the power supplier and won't have to pay for inefficiencies like low voltage, power interruptions, bad service etc. It will also have provisions for penalising discoms for wilful blackouts. Discoms will have to give licences to 3-4 distributors in the same region to offer choice of service.
The plans include a pre-paid billing system, so that the discoms get paid upfront. The new provisions will assure prompt payment for to power generating companies and mandate a pass through provision within 45 days. The new Act, which will have about 75 amendments, will make power regulators more autonomous and give industrial consumers the choice to buy power from a distributor they want. It will also have stricter rules on renewable purchase obligation and for honouring power purchase agreements. The draft needs a nod from the law ministry and various state governments, sources said.