The FoR has emphasised the need to ring-fence load despatch centres by amending sections 27, 31 of the Electricity Act, 2003
Taking a grim view of the rising instances of power outages due to grid collapse, power regulators are pressing for legislative changes to ensure grid security. There were two such instances last year (on July 30 and July 31).
In a recent meeting, the Forum of Regulators (FoR), a statutory body representing the chairpersons of all electricity regulators in India, emphasised the need to ring-fence load despatch centres by amending sections 27 and 31 of the Electricity Act, 2003. This, according to FoR, would provide that a government company other than a generating company or licencee or authority or corporation, be designated to operate regional load dispatch centre (RLDC) or state load dispatch centre (SLDC).
The regulators' body has called for delegation of powers of a civil court, including the power of execution, to an 'appropriate commission' (the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission or state regulatory commission, as the case may be). FoR also wants non-compliance of the orders of the appropriate commission to be treated as contempt of court.
FoR has opposed any move to empower RLDC or SLDC to impose penalty for non-compliance by amending sections 29 and 33 of the Electricity Act. FoR said the imposition of penalty does not go with the role assigned to these institutions. "Further, the principle of natural justice demands that any person being imposed penalty must be given an opportunity of being heard. The matters involving imposing of penalty are adjudicatory in nature and the law generally defines the process of adjudication of disputes. Provision of appeal is also provided. The proposed amendment does not take care of these factors," FoR noted.
Moreover, FoR has suggested that under section 94 of the Electricity Act, the 'appropriate commission' should have all the powers of a civil court, including the power of execution. "The power ministry could consider amendment to provide that 'non-compliance of orders of the appropriate commission would be treated as contempt of court," said the regulator's body.
According to FoR, there is a need to enhance the penalties under section 142 of the Electricity Act, and treating the order of the appropriate commission as a decree of the civil court. However, FoR said the imposition of penalty is an adjudicatory process and proper procedures should be followed. There should also be a provision to appeal, it said.
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