Kusumjit takes charge as PSERC chairperson

Kusumjit Sidhu (61), a retired Punjab cadre IAS officer of the 1979 batch, will take over as the chairperson of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) on Thursday. The determination of the power tariff for 2017-18 is an important decision that awaits her. Under the Electricity Act, 2003, the announcement should have been made by April 1.?So, the decision is already delayed by four months.

The biggest challange for Kusumjit will be to announce a tariff of Rs 5 per unit for the industry, something that the Amarinder government had promised when it took charge in March. Sources said after Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) filed its annual revenue requirement petition last year, the PSERC had started the process of tariff determination as it held public hearings of different consumer Sections, but the state government’s consent to give subsidised power to different consumer sections was awaited.

Sources said the cash-strapped state government was already funding free power for tubewell used in agriculture, state subsidy for which had touched Rs 6,000 crore.

Along with Kusumjit, Anjuli Chandra would take over a member of the PSERC. She is a chief engineer with the Central Electricity Authority.

Kusumjit is considered close to CM Amarinder. Her tenure as a Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Punjab is seen as a high-point in her service career where the 2009?Lok Sabha polls and state assembly polls of 2012 were conducted in her tenure. As the CEO, she developed differences with the Akali Dal, as the party, in 2012, lodged a complaint against her with the Election?Commission of India.

Sidhu would take over from DS Bains 1981 batch IAS, an appointee of the previous Akali-BJP regime in February 2016. He could have continued on the post up to the age of 65 in February 2019. For three months, he took decisions on day-to-day issues before the commission, but refused to take up the tariff determination saying the new dispensation would take this call as per its policies.

After the Congress came to power, then Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) chairman KD Chaudhary had resigned from his post. The Amarinder Government made A Venu Prasad as principal secretary (power) along with additional charge as PSPCL chairman.

HINDUSTAN TIMES

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