A bill titled 'The Power Bill, 2017' was passed in Parliament today keeping 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 or installation.
State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid moved the bill and it was passed by voice vote.
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 ensure the better load management.
It 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 equipment.
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 authorities will have to face maximum one year jail term or Tk one lakh fine or both.
Besides, 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 Tk 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 both.
For the industries, such punishment will be maximum three years' jail, or a fine double of the price of the stolen electricity or Tk five lakh or both.
The punishment for maliciously wasting energy will be maximum three years' jail, or Tk five lakh fine or both.
Besides, maximum three years of jail or maximum Tk five lakh fine or both of the punishments will be imposed on the person to be found using any machine, device or artificial system in any illegal means.
The new bill stipulates maximum five years of imprisonment along with maximum Tk 5 lakh financial penalty for the pilferage, removal and destruction of electric equipment.
Under section 11 of the new law, new posts of 'Chief Power Inspector' and other staff under the inspector of the Power Division of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources are supposed to be created, aiming to give responsibility for primary inspection for providing electricity connection.
Once assented by the President, the new law will replace the original Electricity Act framed in 1910 and bar PDB, DESCO and DESA from setting up new lines or conducting any public works in their jurisdiction without informing the higher authorities concerned.