SEBs sitting on $6.9bn accumulated losses

Vol 6, PW 20 (04 Dec 02) News in Brief

Anant Geete, India's power minister, blames it on power theft and an "inability to bill and collect".

According to Geete, India's state electricity boards have accumulated financial losses worth Rs33, 000cr ($6.9bn) - an alarming number by any standards. Geete said transmission and distribution losses -theft - could be as high as 25%.

"Indirect calculations show them in the range of 50%." Geete was responding to recommendations ina report on 'Information Technology for the Power Sector' submitted on 26th November. Says Geete: "The need of the hour is to institutionalise change and bring about sustainable improvements." He adds: "Implementation of the recommendations require a major change in attitude." More effective would be for Geete to push radical new electricity legislation through parliament where it has been languishing for two years.