ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Electricity Markets, Competition, and Independent Regulation

Electricity Sector in India: Policy and Regulation by Alok Kumar and Sushanta K Chatterjee, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2012; pp xxiii+292, Rs 795. Powering India: A Decade of Policies and Regulations edited by S L Rao, New Delhi: Academic Foundation and IPPAI, 2011; pp 312, Rs 995.

The two books under review offer a wealth of information about infrastructure in India. The chronological focus of both is the past decade and a half, a time when New Delhi and state capitals have experimented with introducing market mechanisms, private actors, and independent regulation into the country’s infrastructural sectors. The book of essays edited by S L Rao covers the power sector broadly, with brief discussions on nuclear energy as well as the coal and gas sectors, but the main thrust of the volume and also the point of commonality between Rao’s volume and the book co-authored by Alok Kumar and Sushanta K Chatterjee is the electricity sector.

Since this sector was overhauled in 2003 by the new Electricity Act (hereafter EA03), enough time has passed to make an assessment of the new law vital, and each book offers something important towards this end. Among the most significant topics covered in the two books are regulatory bodies at the state and central levels, spot and long-term market mechanisms to allocate and price electricity, and new strategies to govern the overall health of the electricity system (like the unscheduled interchange (UI) mechanism and the renewable electricity certificate).

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