In another attack on Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday said the state government would not have to go for power cuts “if we act in the right direction”.

In a series of tweets, Sidhu said that the Punjab Vidhan Sabha can bring in new legislation to amend the Power Purchase Agreements signed by the Badal government which are responsible for the high electricity rates in the state.
“Truth of Power Costs, Cuts, Power Purchase Agreements and How to give Free and 24 hour Power to the People of Punjab:- 1. 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.

The Congress leader said that Punjab is buying power at an average cost of Rs 4.54 per unit, while the national average is Rs 3.85 per unit and Chandigarh is paying 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 Badal Govt signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with three 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 Rs 65,000 Crore of Punjab People’s Money just as fixed charges,” he said,

Sidhu further said that Punjab can purchase power from the 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.”

“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 & Void, saving People of Punjab’s Money,” he said.

He pointed out that Punjab’s revenue per unit of consumption is one of the lowest in India, “due to gross mismanagement of the complete power purchase and supply system.”

He further said that Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) pays Rs 0.18 per unit “extra” on every unit supplied, even after receiving over Rs 9000 Crore in subsidy from the state.

“Renewable Energy is becoming cheaper along with being environmental-friendly, But Punjab’s potential from solar and BioMass energy remains unutilised even though Central financial schemes can be availed for these projects. Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) spends its time just on energy efficiency awareness,” he tweeted.

The Punjab MLA further pointed out a need for the original ‘Punjab model’ for the state and said the state government would not profit from copying Delhi’s model.

“Punjab already gives Rs 9000 crore power subsidy but Delhi gives only Rs 1699 crore as power subsidy. If Punjab copies Delhi Model, we will get merely Rs 1600-2000 Crore as subsidy. To better serve the People of Punjab – Punjab needs an Orignal Punjab Model, Not a copied Model !!” he said.

“Punjab Model for Power – Money spent on giving unreasonable and exuberant profits to Private Thermal Plants should be utilised for the welfare of People i.e giving power subsidy for free power for domestic use (Upto 300 Units), 24 hours supply and to invest in education and healthcare!” he added.

The differences between Sidhu and the Punjab Chief Minister have been rife for some time. Patry sources on Thursday said that Congress is keen to put its house in order in the state before the Assembly elections next year and a series of meetings have been held over the past few weeks to resolve factionalism and other problems.

“Disgruntled Punjab Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has differences with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, is likely to be suitably accommodated as the party looks for an early end to the crisis in the state unit,” sources said.

Sidhu had met Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday.
A senior party leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that there is a possibility of a reshuffle in the Punjab cabinet “to reduce the impact of anti-incumbency. “Navjot Singh Sidhu is also expected to get some big responsibility,” he said. (ANI)