Senior Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has trained guns on Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh over the power cut order. In a series of tweets shared this morning, Sidhu said that flagged faults in the functioning of Singh's government, saying people of Punjab can get 24/7 power supply if the government "acts in the right direction".
"There is No need for Power-Cuts in Punjab or for the Chief Minister to regulate office timings or AC use of the Common People ... If we Act in the right direction," he tweeted.
Sidhu said that Punjab is buying power at average cost of Rs 4.54 per unit while the national average is Rs. 3.85 per unit and Chandigarh pays Rs 3.44 per unit.
"Punjab’s over-dependence on three private thermal plants at Rs. 5-8 per unit makes Punjab pay more than other states. Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) - Badal govt signed PPAs with 3 Private Thermal Power Plants in Punjab. Till 2020, Punjab has already paid 5400 Crore due to faulty clauses in these Agreements and is expected to pay 65,000 Crore of Punjab People’s Money just as fixed charges," he said.
Sidhu suggested that Punjab can purchase power from National Grid at much cheaper rates, but these "Badal-signed PPAs are acting against Punjab’s Public Interest".
"Punjab may not be able to re-negotiate these PPAs due to them having legal protection from Hon’ble Courts, But there is a way forward," he added.
Earlier on Thursday, the Punjab government announced to reduce timings of government offices and ordered cut down on power supply to high energy-consuming industries as the electricity demand in the state soared to over 14,000 MW a day. On Wednesday, the power demand peaked to 14,142 MW against the supply of 12,842 MW, leaving a gap of 1,300 MW, an official of the state-owned power utility PSPCL had said.
Sidhu further advised that Punjab Vidhan Sabha can bring in new legislation with retrospective effect to cap power purchase costs to prices available on the National Power Exchange at any given time.
"Thus, by amending the law, these agreements will become null and void," he said.
He added that Punjab’s revenue per unit of consumption is one of the lowest in India and due to gross mismanagement of the complete power purchase and supply system, "PSPCL pays Rs. 0.18 per unit “Extra” on every unit supplied, even after receiving over 9000 crore in Subsidy from the state".
"Renewable energy is becoming cheaper along with being environmental-friendly, but Punjab’s potential from Solar & BioMass Energy remains unutilised even though Central financial schemes can be availed for these projects. PEDA spends its time just on energy efficiency awareness," he said in another tweet.
"Punjab already gives 9000 Crore Power Subsidy but Delhi gives only 1699 Crore as Power Subsidy. If Punjab copies Delhi Model, we will get merely 1600-2000 Crore as Subsidy. To better serve the People of Punjab - Punjab needs an Orignal Punjab Model, Not a copied Model !!"
"Punjab Model for Power - Money spent on giving unreasonable & exuberant profits to Private Thermal Plants should be utilised for welfare of People i.e Giving Power Subsidy for Free Power for Domestic use (Upto 300 Units), 24 hours supply & to invest in Education & Healthcare !"
Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) workers staged a protest using hand fans against power crisis in Punjab's Ropar.