Power Ministry to seek autonomy for transmission regulator

With an aim to attract more investments in power sector, the Power Ministry is working on granting independent transmission regulator status to Posco and also fixing the price of gas for electricity generation plants at $ 5 per mmBtu (million British thermal unit) .

As the Ministry is looking for private sector participation in the transmission sector,  Posco needs to be given greater autonomy. The Ministry will seek cabinet approval on the issue, Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia told reporters on Thursday.

Currently, the Power System Operation Corporation Limited (Posco) is an arm of state run Power Grid Corporation Limited and it handles power management functions. Posco is responsible to ensure the integrated operation of the grid in a reliable, efficient and secure manner.

It consists of 5 Regional Load Despatch Centres and a National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC). Once Posco will be made an independent entity, its parent firm Power Grid will have the only task of setting up transmission links.

Post the autonomous status of Posco, the organisation will act as a regulator for the transmission grid primarily engaged in maintaining grid discipline and discouraging overdrawal of electricity by the states. Giving autonomy also helps to prevent grid collapse as Posco can take stern action against states for overdrawing electricity.

He also said the Ministry will approach the Cabinet for capping the domestic gas price at $ 5 per mmBtu for the power sector to ensure the availability of fuel at affordable price to gas based power producers.

At present, the power sector sources domestic gas at $ 4.2 per mmBtu, but the price is expected to be doubled from April 1, 2014, following approval of recommendations of a panel headed by C Rangarajan, Chairman of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council.

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