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

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Power Sector Woes: No Easy Answers

No Easy Answers Against the Current: Organisational Restructuring of State Electricity Boards edited by Joel Ruet; Manohar Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, 2003; pp 224, Rs 500.

Power Reform and Politics

WEEKLYECONOMIC AND POLITICAL Power Reform and Politics Both houses of parliament have finally passed the new electricity bill which seeks to free up distribution, the main stumbling block in the development of India

Electricity Regulatory Commissions

Rationalisation of tariffs is perhaps the most important prerequisite of viability of the power sector. An important step was taken in this behalf in 1998 by enactment of a legislation for the setting up of the electricity regulatory commissions (ERCs) at the centre and in the states. But the experience of the functioning of the ERCs so far is far from satisfactory. It is now imperative that ERCs take a strong position and refuse to entertain the submissions of SEBs and licensees for tariff revisions till their reasonable directives are complied with. It is time the ERCs made full use of the penal powers available under the concerned legislation. For what is at stake is not only the viability and the future of the power sector but also the credibility of the ERCs

Power Sector Reforms: If Wishes Were Horses

Comprehensive power sector reforms, particularly in the transmission and distribution segments, have been discussed at least since 1993 when a Committee of the National Development Council comprising six chief ministers was set up. Conferences of chief ministers/power ministers were held in 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2001. However, in spite of the hardy ritual of conferences and resolutions without any seriousness of purpose - just to give the appearance of progress where there is in fact none - there is no light at the end of the tunnel. In fact the tunnel seems to get darker and longer each year.

Power Politics

Power sector policy in India appears to have locked itself into adverse arrangements at least twice in the recent period. The first was when agricultural consumption was de-metered and extensive subsidies were offered; the second when Independent Power Producer contracts with major fiscal implications were signed by the State Electricity Boards. A third set of circumstances, with the potential for equally powerful forms of institutional lock-in, appears to be in the making with the reproduction of the Orissa model on the national scale. This paper provides an analysis of the social and political context in which power sector reforms have taken place in India. While a state-led power sector has been responsible for substantial failures, is the design of the reformed sector well aimed at balancing efficiency and profit-making on the one hand and the public interest on the other? The discussion of the forces and actors that have shaped the reform processes is intended to contribute to an understanding of how the public interest can best be served in the ongoing effort to reshape the power sector.

Rationalising Electricity Tariffs

Rational pricing of electricity, it is now recognised, is vital keeping in view the growth of the power sector and the interests of the producer and the consumer. An examination of the historical and continuing infirmities and distortions of electricity tariffs in the country.

Plight of Power Sector In India - I

True to the spirit of a social democratic state, India originally evolved her power development policy in line with the state's professed commitment to honouring and ensuring social security equations. Although the State Electricity Boards (SEBs) were to function as corporations, they became agents of the state governments. This article attempts to throw light on the significant aspects of inefficiency costs involved in SEBs' functioning. Part I deals with physical performance focusing on such aspects, as technical efficiency, T and D losses, and their possible underestimation as well as some aspects of institutional and organisational inefficiency. Part II, to appear next week, will deal with the supply cost of electricity, tariff and revenue, as well as financial performance.

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