The Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) today wrote to the Ministry of Power asking the government to ensure that power supply to telecom towers is maintained, and requesting relaxation in electricity bill payments for tower operators. TAIPA announced the letter in a press statement, MediaNama has reviewed a copy of the letter. “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 EB supply for telecom towers, which is critical for continued operations of telecom services,” TAIPA Director General TR Dua wrote to the Power Ministry’s Secretary (emphasis his).

We request for following support from Ministry of Power to enable telecom industry for ensuring 24*7 continuity of telecom services in the country:

a. To advise all the State Governments and State Electricity Companies across the country for ensuring availability of 24×7 uninterrupted electricity supply for telecom tower operations.
b. 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.
c. No penalty to be charged on account of any delay in EB bill payment of telecom towers since bill receiving / collection and payment is impacted due to lock down.
d. No Coercive action like disconnection etc to be taken on account of any delay in EB bill payment of telecom towers since bill receiving/collection and payment are impacted because of lockdown.
e. Availability of online bills and mandatory registration for online bill payment. Telecom Infrastructure Providers may also be granted at least 45 days of grace period for EB bill payments.
f. In case of EB failure on telecom tower sites restoration of EB to be ensured on priority and on an immediate basis since back-ups like Battery may take time due to movement restrictions.

(emphasis ours)

TAIPA says that tower companies are facing financial difficulties. On April 10, the association had said that state-owned telcos BSNL and MTNL must immediately pay dues owed to them, around Rs 1,500 crore. On April 6, TAIPA had issued a condemnation of Nirlipt Rai, a superintendent of police in Gujarat, for allegedly assaulting a telecom engineer who had the appropriate permits to travel for work.