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

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Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020

The proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 aims to reduce subsidies and push for privatisation, especially in the distribution segment of the power sector. Undertaking structural changes in a core sector at a time of crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic effects defies logic. The proposed amendments are not only anti-people, but they also fail to address the long-term crises in the sector and will only accelerate its deterioration. The central government must hold off on passing any hasty legislation on the subject and adopt a more scientific and less ideological approach to deal with the travails of the power sector.

Will UDAY Brighten Up Rajasthan’s Finances?

Fiscal prudence in most countries, including India, is focused on general government deficit. Though there is strong merit in focusing on the public sector borrowing requirement (PSBR) to judge fiscal health, paucity of data and its timeliness always prevented having a consolidated view of public...

We Simply Deserve Better

Claims of a "turnaround" in the infrastructure sector are premature in a country where two-thirds of households do not have combined access to electricity, commercial cooking energy, piped water and sanitation. The gaps in infrastructure planning, examined in this article for the coal and power sectors, point to serious issues in the Indian context that need informed discussions rather than mere rhetoric.

The Political Economy of Power

India has taken a long time to arrive at a reasonable direction for the improvement of the power sector. For long it has been difficult to strike a proper balance between the commercial viability of the sector and the imperative need to make power available even to those deficient in resources to pay for it. This paper discusses the various issues in the sector and the present state of the reforms programme. It sees some room for hope growing understanding of the sector that seems to have developed among policy-makers.

Enron Imbroglio

This paper offers a technical perspective on the Enron imbroglio, examining issues of power projections and how they are made; the determination of future needs and the calculation of costs and prices and plant and power management in the country. Managing a power utility, it points out, requires technical and managerial competence without political or bureaucratic interference.

Independence of Regulators under the Electricity Bill

A critical look at the electricity bill presented to parliament from the standpoint of the independence of the regulatory commissions under the bill's provisions.

Power Sector in Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh State Electricity Board's poor financial condition and growing power shortages called for radical reforms of the state's power industry. However, this analysis shows that the reforms model being implemented is based on incomplete diagnosis of the Board's past problems. High cost of power purchase, arbitrary depreciation norms, misrepresentation of agriculture consumption and over-reporting of impact of subsidy, were as important reasons as poor maintenance, poor productivity, high T and D losses, poor billing efficiency and high subsidy to agriculture, in affecting financial performance of the Board. Besides lack of recognition of the former set of causes, the reforms process is ridden with other major pitfalls like sabotage-prone gaps in the proposed model and ad hoc handling of its implementation. The proposed reforms model appears to have been conceived out of desperation to escape from financial burden imposed by past mistakes, rather than out of a conscious reorientation of past policies, structures and systems in keeping with international changes in technological and competitive environment.

California Energy Crisis and Its Lessons for Power Sector Reform In India

What appears to be an unstoppable and unquestionable 'consensus' regarding the necessity of restructuring/reforming the electricity sector in India has been shattered by the unbelievable news of the California energy crisis. In a state at the forefront of the IT revolution, there have been unscheduled interruptions of power and rolling blackouts covering hundreds of thousands of consumers. Suddenly, the situation there appears no different from backward developing country cities. This paper is addressed to the task of understanding the California energy crisis through a factual description of the crisis and a discussion of the causal factors responsible for it. It concludes with drawing the lessons from the California energy crisis particularly with regard to power sector reform in India.

Plight of Power Sector in India-II

The unaccountability of state Electricity Boards (SEBs) in India has led to gross inefficiency at all levels. This article examines significant aspects of inefficiency costs involved in SEBs functioning. Part I of this article, published last week, dealt with physical performance focusing on such aspects as technical inefficiency, T and D losses, its possible underestimation, as well as some aspects of institutional and organisational inefficiency. Part II deals with the supply cost of electricity, tariff and revenue, as well as financial performance.

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