Power on with reforms

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Talk about the power situation in Andhra Pradesh or power outage in North India, it’s a tale of professional mismanagement and weak policy response. A bird tells me that AP has the best power statistics. National average is 26% losses from power transmission, generation and distribution. AP is better @18%. In a country like US, this figure is 8-11%. So it is not that bad.

Despite reforming the power sector and ensuring that more than Rs.five lakh crores of banking credit has flown into the sector, the biggest NPAs today are expected to be from this sector. Talk about power reforms and you still have so much shortage. Do you know by 2020, India’s planned capacity in power is expected to touch over 350,000 mega watts. Current installed capacity in China is 780,000 MW or thereabouts.

Talk about power reforms. We haven’t moved an inch on nuclear plants (AP has none), hydel and windpower in a manner that other BRIC countries have moved. We have created superb institutions like REC, PTC, PGI and NTPC who are more committed to commissioning of projects than the private projects allotted to cronies of the government. Despite issues like environmental clearances, land acquisition and allotment of coal mines, and scams and fears of investigations, companies like NTPC and Power Grid Corporation of India have moved far ahead in building capacities.

For power producers, there is need for complete overhaul – in matters of coal supply and prices of other fuels, SEBs which are unable to revise tariff due to political compulsions. Everyone is feeling the heat – fuel suppliers, power generation companies, and distributors. AP is next to only NTPC in power statistics – and it has been the first to raise the tariffs in peak summer. But unless the CERC wakes up and adopts a cohesive approach, we are heading for disaster in power.


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