‘The Power Bill, 2017’ placed in Parliament on Tuesday, has kept a provision of harsher punishment of maximum 10 years’ jail and Tk 10 crore fine or both for carrying out any act of sabotage in any electricity infrastructure.
State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid placed the Bill and it was sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for further scrutiny.
The committee was asked to submit its report within 30 days.
The Bill also has a provision for introducing an independent system operator (ISO) to operate the country’s power system in a coordinated manner as well as to ensure the better load management.
The Bill also has a provision of maximum 10 years and minimum seven years of jail term or maximum Tk 10 crore as fine or both for destroying or damaging power infrastructures and establishments like power stations, sub-stations, power lines, poles and equipments.
Under the proposed law, any employee violating its rules like giving illegal electricity connection, doing any faulty works as well as for providing electricity outside the area of the authority will have to face maximum one year jail term or Tk. 1 lakh fine or both.
Other than that, the employees involved in any generalised offences in the power sector which are not included in the new draft law will have to face maximum 6 months of imprisonment or up to taka 10,000 as fine or both.
The punishment for power hooking in case of individual will be maximum three years’ jail, or double of the price of the stolen electricity or Tk 50,000 or which is higher in terms of amount.
For the industries, such punishment will be maximum five years jail, or double of the price of stolen electricity or Tk five lakh or which is higher in terms of amount.
The punishment for maliciously wasting energy would be maximum five years jail, or Tk five lakh fine or both.
Under section 11 of the Bill, a proposal has been made for the creation of the posts of ‘Chief Power Inspector’ and other staff under the inspector of the Power Division of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, aimed at giving responsibility for primary inspection for providing electricity connection.
The new law will replace the original Electricity Act framed in 1910 and will bar PDB, DESCO and DESA from setting up new lines or conduct any public works in their jurisdiction without informing the higher authorities concerned.