Orissa to think twice before introducing competition in power
April 28th, 2011

Though not totally opposed to the competition in the power sector, Orissa government today said it would “think twice” before introducing competition in the electricity distribution system.

The state government’s views on the proposal of introducing competition in the electricity distribution, came out at a workshop organised by Independent Power Producers Association of India (IPPAI). “We are not opposed to competition in the power sector. Orissa is the first state in the country to privatise power sector. However, we need to study ground situation properly before taking any decision on opening up power distribution market,” said Energy minister Atanu S. Nayak. Nayak was replying to a proposal mooted by director general of IPPAI Harry Dhaul at the workshop. Seeking introduction of competition in the electricity distribution system, Dhaul argued that the consumers should be given a choice to select their distributors. Like any other products, the consumers need to have rights to chose the distributors instead being forced to avail power from one specific company, he said.

“When consumers are given choice in telecom, television and many other products, they should be given equal opportunity in power sector also,” Dhaul said.Asking IPPAI to enter into competition in social sector, Orissa’s Energy secretary P K Jena observed that electricity was not essentially a market product. Power is more linked with social obligations of a government and therefore should reach the poor people on priority basis. Stating that the state did not get expected results from power sector reforms, Jena pointed out that about 28 states in the country were yet to bring reforms in the sector. Jena feared that the poor consumers might suffer in the process of competition among power distribution companies. Describing Orissa as the ultimate destination for power generation in the country, Amitabh Mudgal, senior vice-president of marketing and corporate affairs, Monnet Power Company Limited, said that any reforms should start from the state. Orissa is the only state in the country which has the potential to generate 50,000 MW of electricity from the present level of 4,000 MW. Therefore, the state should open up the distribution market for the welfare of the consumers.

Source – PTI

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