Power for All: States urged to hasten efforts
Union Minister of Power Sushilkumar Shinde has called upon all States and Union Territories to expedite efforts to achieve the goal of power for all. Chairing the conference of power ministers from all states and UTs in the capital, he reminded the States of the task to implement the stipulations of the policy instruments which, he said, can only be achieved with the full cooperation and active support of all the states.
The minister emphasized that power being concurrent subject combined efforts are required by state sector and central sector. He said that normally Power Ministers’ Conference is held once in a year but to review the state sector critically and to impart momentum to the development of sector, it has been decided to convene the meeting twice a year now.
The conference convened by the Ministry of Power discussed and deliberated upon critical issues related to generation capacity addition, open access in transmission and distribution, Rural Electrification through Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) and strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution system through Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP).
Addressing delegates, Minister of State for Power, Bharatsinh Solanki said that the future economic growth of the country depends on long term availability of reliable and quality power from sources that are easily accessible and socially acceptable.
Earlier, welcoming the delegates, Secretary, Ministry of Power, Hari Shankar Brahma, said that land acquisition, availability of water, environment clearances and facilitating other infrastructure are some of the areas in the purview of the states which need to be addressed urgently in order to take the power sector forward.
Besides Power Ministers and Power Secretaries of various States and UTs, Dr Promod Deo, Chairman, CERC, BK Chaturvedi, member, Planning Commission, Rakesh Nath, Chairman, Central Electricity Authority, officials of Ministry of Power and heads of several CPSUs attended the conference.
Detailed deliberations were held in regard to key issues requiring priority in the areas slated for discussion. Progress with regard to decisions taken in the last conference of Power Ministers in June 2009 were also reviewed.
It was noted that out of the capacity addition target of 78,700 MW envisaged for the 11th Five Year Plan, about 62,000 MW capacity addition was likely to be achieved with high degree of certainty and addition of about 12,000 MW capacity was possible. States were requested to lay special emphasis on completion of works in respect of the units falling under the latter category in view of growing requirement of electricity in all walks of life.
Strict monitoring of critical projects, facilitation in land acquisition, water allocation, placement of order for balance of plant equipment was re-emphasised. States were also requested to expedite placement of orders for balance of plant equipment which was to be completed by July 31, 2009. Power Utilities which could not complete signing of Fuel Supply Agreement with coal companies by June 30, 2009, as decided in the last meeting, were requested to do so by the end of this month in view of critical level of coal stock across many power stations.
Power Utilities were also advised to plan for imports for a period of 2 to 3 years as the domestic coal supply was not likely to be adequate for the increasing requirement of electricity generation. Action for coal block development needs to be expedited by the state utilities by forming JV Companies and take action where companies have formed.
It was underlined that open access in inter-state transmission was effective but open access in intra-state transmission and distribution was still largely restricted to captive consumers; open access to consumers other than captive has been a non-starter on account of various reasons. Framing of regulations and specifying related charges such as cross-subsidy surcharge, wheeling charge and transmission charge, being the first and foremost requirement for operationalising open access, was stressed.
It was noted that CERC had issued detailed regulations for open access and 23 State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) have also issued relevant regulations. While, most of these SERCs have notified charges relevant to open access, the need for early notification as well as effective operationalization of open access in respect of other SERCs was underlined.
Under the “Re-structured APDRP” for 11th Plan, 1,130 projects costing Rs4,183.93 crore have been approved in the eighteen States for establishment of baseline data and IT applications for energy accounting / auditing & IT based consumer service centers; balance projects are likely to be approved shortly. States were requested to submit balance Part A projects by December and prepare Part-B and SCADA / DMS projects by Dec/January of the current financial year and submit the same for approval. States were also requested to complete ring fencing of project towns by installing boundary meters before the close of the calendar year 2009.
State governments were also requested for according priority to implementation of RGGVY scheme besides extending support and taking suitable action for expeditious implementation of Rural Electrification works within the stipulated time lines.
The actions required to be taken in regard to completion of pending X Plan projects , award of remaining projects of XI Plan, accelerating release of connections to BPL households especially in the villages under intensive electrification , taking effective steps for strengthening of sub transmission infrastructure, acquisition of land for sub-stations, energisation of completed villages and appointment of franchises were re-emphasised.