Allow open access to power: panel
The Advisory Group constituted for Integrated Development of Power, Coal and Renewable Energy, has recommended “restricting the authority of the State governments to issue directive to prevent open access,” according to a press release of the Ministry of Power.
State governments have used Section 11 of the Electricity Act, 2003, to order that power generating stations in the State should not supply the electricity they generate to consumers outside the State. The ‘prohibition’ under Section 11 is currently in vogue, for example, in Tamil Nadu.
But the wording of the Section is not so explicit. It says that a State government may specify that “in extraordinary circumstances” ask an electricity generation company in the State to “operate and maintain any generating station in accordance with the directions of the (State) government.” It also clarifies that ‘extraordinary circumstances’ mean “circumstances arising out of threat to security of the State, public order or a natural calamity or other circumstances arising in public interest”.
Various States have used Section 11 to restrict sales of electricity during periods of power shortage, much to the chagrin of power companies who want freedom to sell their electricity for the best price in an open market.