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NEW DELHI : About 2.7 million power sector employees and engineers will protest against the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 on Monday. 

A statement from All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) said that the bill would allow licenses to be given to more than one distribution company in the same area which would allegedly favour the private companies and hurt government discoms.   

 “In protest against the introduction of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 by Union Power Minister R.K. Singh in the Lok Sabha on 08 August, all the 27 lakh electricity employees and engineers of the country will leave work on 08 August and protest throughout the day," said the statement. 

All India Power Engineers Federation has also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the matter. 

“AIPEF demands this bill should not be rushed through in parliament in haste and should be referred to the standing committee of the Parliament's electricity matters," it said. 

AIPEF Chairman Shailendra Dubey said: “The Centre is going to introduce the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 in violation of parliamentary conventions, due to which there is a lot of anger among the electricity employees of the whole country." 

He further said that electricity is in the concurrent list of the constitution, but the central government has not sought comments from any state. 

 “Through the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022, the Central Government is going to amend the Electricity Act 2003, which is going to have far-reaching regressive effects on the electricity employees and electricity consumers," Dubey said. 

 “There is a provision in the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 that licenses will be given to more than one distribution company in the same area. The new distribution companies of the private sector will supply electricity using the public sector network," the AIPEF statement. 

It said: “The private companies will earn profit by paying only some wheeling charges. As a result,  government companies will become financially insolvent." 

The call for protests comes after Power minister R.K. Singh on Friday said that government is ready with the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 and will introduce the bill in the ongoing monsoon session of the parliament. 

The monsoon session, which began on 18 July, 2022 is scheduled to end on 12 August. 

The Electricity (Amendment) Bill which was recently cleared by the union cabinet is likely to enable competition in retail power distribution. Among other changes, the amendment to the Electricity Act would also allow state electricity regulatory commissions to take up timely revision of tariffs. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rituraj Baruah
Rituraj Baruah is a senior correspondent at Mint, reporting on housing, urban affairs, small businesses and energy. He has reported on diverse sectors over the last six years including, commodities and stocks market, insolvency and real estate. He has previous stints at Cogencis Information Services, Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) and Inc42.
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