Engineers' federation asks govt to put discom privatisation on hold

Engineers' federation asks govt to put discom privatisation on hold

The All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) has urged the government to put on hold the privatisation of electricity distribution companies (discoms).

AIPEF told the media that the government must put on hold the privatisation of electricity distribution and stop entrusting the electricity departments of union territories (UTs) to private enterprises.

The federation mentioned that neither the draft Electricity Amendment Bill 2021 nor the standard bidding document has been finalised, but the UTs of Chandigarh and Dadra Nagar Haveli are moving rapidly towards the privatisation of their electricity departments.

The standard bid documents for privatising electricity discoms were put on the Ministry of Power's (MoP) website on 22 September 2020, and were to be applied across the country.

The ministry has stated that the standard bid documents have still not been finalised, claimed AIPEF. The federation pointed out that this puts a question on the entire bidding process of UTs privatisation process.

While in Chandigarh, the bidding was for 100% equity, in Dadra Nagar Haveli, it was for 51%. There is confusion and uncertainty in overbidding the process itself, it claimed.

AIPEF said that in the case of Dadra Nagar Haveli, the bids had been opened, and Torrent had claimed to have won the bid with the highest offer of Rs 555 lakh against a reserve price of Rs 150 lakh.

The Bombay High Court has stayed the further process in case of a PIL filed before it. In the case of UT Chandigarh, the technical bids were opened on March 18, but the opening of financial bids is awaited.

The UT Power Union had challenged the bidding before Punjab Haryana High Court, and the next date of hearing is April 29, it said. The draft amendment bill 2021 has been circulated to the selected few in the month of February, and the power ministry held a discussion on the proposals with all the state power secretaries and CMDs of discom and regulators, stated AIPEF.

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Also read: NITI Aayog lists 12 PSUs for privatisation

Also read: Ministry of Power: Discoms owe Rs 12.3k cr to RE companies

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