Power Engineers demand review of power sector reforms
V K Gupta
March 23rd, 2014

Power Engineers demand review of power sector reforms
Sunday March 23, 2014
Describing the privatization of power sector as detrimental to the interests of consumers as well as the country’s economy, the All-India Power Engineers’ Federation (AIPEF) has decided to support only those political parties which give a pre-poll commitment to discourage privatization.
Shailendera Dubey newly elected Chairman of said the office-bearers would personally meet the heads of all important political parties and appeal to them to clarify their stand in their poll manifestos. He said the federation also wanted the parties to rollback privatization of power distribution by withdrawing the distribution licenses granted to private companies.
The federal executive meeting of AIPEF was held on Saturday at Banglore and was attended by representatives from 18 states. The meeting was chaired by Padamjit Singh Chairman AIPEF.
AIPEF demanded that a high level expert group should be constituted by the Government of India under the supervision and control of the Prime Minister so that the failure in the achievement of aims and objects of the Electricity Act 2003 could be analyzed and remedial measures evolved.
Power sector reforms which were initiated for giving power to all at affordable rates has failed miserably. The very purpose of changing the legislation in 2003 was to reduce the losses in the power sector, improve the financial health of the sector and reduce the subsidy burden of the Government. Shaliender Dubey Secretary General said that due to the faculty policies the contrary has happened.
Now Government has proposed further to amend the Electricity Act 2003 by suggesting major changes such as separating carriage and content in distribution by introducing supply as a separate function. The main aims of these amendments are to further develop power market rather than improving the performance of the sector. No enhancement of the efficiency of the existing distribution system in envisaged by the proposed amendments. Creation of multiple agencies will add cost at every level and consumer will be ultimate sufferer.
In case of power generation the concept of achieving low tariffs through competitive bidding in Ultra Mega Power Plants (UMPP) has been completely defeated by the changes made in the terms after award of contract by giving various concessions to the successful bidders. The tariff is going to increase further for the common consumers.
With the thrust on capacity addition in private sector, several States are now in a condition of surplus power during part or most of the year. This is resulting in a situation whereby State Thermal Power stations are ordered to be backed down or shut down so as to enable the private sector thermal stations to operate at optimum or full load.
While talking about power shortage in southern region Padamjit Singh said that state owned power plants in the West and the North are being shut down due to lack of load. This is in spite of the fact that the physical infrastructure exists to transfer power from one region to another.
The financial health of the power sector has deteriorated and Government is now subsidizing even private sector DISCOMS. What is more serious is that the Banking Sector may collapse under the burden of the non-performing assets being generated by the power sector.
Shaliender Dubey and P Ratnakar Rao were elected Chairman and Secretary General of AIPEF for the next term. Padamjit Singh was made Chief Patron of Federation and will head regulatory affairs committee of AIPEF. Sunil Grover and Venkat Shivareddy were elected Sr. Vice Chairman. VK Gupta was made spokesperson and will deal mass communication inmedia.

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