New Delhi, April 13 : The Tower & infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) has urged the Union Power Ministry to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply to telecom towers across the country during the lockdown period.
In a letter to the Secretary, Ministry of Power, Sanjiv Nandan Sahai, the industry body said: "While the necessary support has been extended by the various state electricity distribution companies so far, we would further like to seek your support in ensuring uninterrupted electricity supply for telecom towers, which is critical for continued operations of telecom services." TAIPA said that as telecom is classified as critical service during the present lockdown and amid work-from-home situation in the country, it is serving as the backbone for various other services such as e-commerce, banking and finance, e-governance, e-education, healthcare among others.
It asked the ministry to advise all the state governments and state electricity companies for ensuring availability of '24x7' uninterrupted electricity supply for telecom tower operations.
"All state electricity distribution companies to give electricity connections on 'priority' for telecom tower sites in view of present situation to make them operational for telecom services," it said.
TAIPA also said that no penalty should be charged or any coercive action such as disconnection should be taken on account of any delay in electricity bill payment of telecom towers since bill receiving and collection and payment is impacted due to lockdown.
Further, it sought a grace period of at least 45 days for telecom infrastructure companies to pay electricity bills.
T.R. Dua, Director General, TAIPA said: "Needless to mention, telecom infrastructure is the backbone to ensure the availability of critical telecom services needed in this emergent situation arisen due to COVID-19 outbreak in the country. TAIPA requests for an urgent intervention and support from the Ministry of Power, in order to expedite the rollout of the telecom network at the faster pace in the states during this crisis situation and thus help in combating the impact due to coronavirus pandemic." The members of TAIPA include Indus Towers Limited, ATC Group Companies, Bharti Infratel, GTL Infrastructure, Reliance Infratel, Tower Vision, Sterlite Technologies and Space Teleinfra.