Availability is key to power reforms

Availability is key to power reforms

The ‘one nation, one grid, one price’ mission of the Centre in the energy sector is certainly a laudable initiative but what holds the key is availability and quality of power both for the domestic and industrial consumers. With mercury rising above 45 degree Celsius and heat wave making life miserable in states across the country, the first and the foremost issue is adequate availability of electricity for mitigating the difficulties of the people, particularly in the rural areas. Rising temperature, coupled with severe
drought in several states has brought people face to face with struggle for survival. If at all, the Centre along with the concerned state governments can ensure availability of power in these areas for meeting their basic needs like pumping out water from deep bore wells, the purpose of the power reforms could be achieved.While announcing the ‘one nation, one grid, one price’ mission, Power Minister Piyush Goyal made it abundantly clear that it is the Centre’s UDAY (Ujjawal Discoms Assurance Yojana) which is going to be the “fulcrum” of the power sector reforms. Goyal asserts that all of India has power at the rate of Rs 4.40 per unit, but what about availability? Leave alone 24x7, is power available for 15-18 hours a day without frequent cuts throughout the country ? After all, ‘one nation, one grid...’ should also mean a fair and equal distribution of electricity to all the consumers on the grid.

While water level in important reservoirs and hydel dams has receded affecting power generation, the bulk of power is produced by burning of coal, which is now available in abundance at a competitive price, thanks to global price meltdown and increased efficiency of the state-owned Coal India. The thermal plants, mostly in the public sector, are also in a better state of affairs, but this time around, the real problem lies with the distribution companies, most of which are in a financial mess. Unable to pay, the discoms are not willing to purchase electricity in adequate quantity and give it to the consumers. So, the middle link in the generator-discom-consumer is so weak that crisis can creep in any time anywhere in the country, because barring a few, most of the discoms are bleeding under debt and financial incompetence. The UDAY scheme is aimed at cleaning the balance sheets of the discoms with states taking the debts on their books. But the success of the scheme would depend on active involvement of the states.  

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)