More delay for Maharashtra Electricity Reform Act

Vol 4, PW 23 (20 Dec 00) Midstream & Downstream

Maharashtra's Electricity Reform Act was scheduled to be passed in the state legislature's month-long winter session beginning on November 27th but will now be ready only in January.

One of the main reasons for this is the surprise sacking of Yeshwant Bhave - reported in the last issue of Petrowatch - and his replacement by Vinay Bansal. "Bansal has to be involved in the whole process," said a source.

"He'll need time." Petrowatch learns that energy secretary UK Mukhopadhyay is also in no hurry to bring the Act before parliament. Mukhopadhyay wants to post the draft Act on the MSEB website to get public comments and the co-operation ofa hostile MSEB staff.

He is also committed to promoting non-conventional sources of energy and wants enabling provisions to be introduced into the new Act. Mukhopadhyay has asked his officials to visit states that have launched electricity reforms so that Maharashtra can learn from their experience, and avoid the mistakes they made.

The 'Maharashtra Electricity Reform Act, designed to "unbundle" the board into separate generation, distribution and transmission companies, will not be ready before January 2001 and could be introduced as an Ordinance, to be ratified later by the legislature. "Management (of MSEB) plans to hold a dialogue with workers and officers," adds a source, "A road map for electricity reforms will be ready by March."