Suresh Prabhu's panacea for the electricity sector

Vol 5, PW 16 (26 Sep 01) People & Policy

The Electricity Bill, 2001 went before parliament last month in August and should be passed in the winter session.

It runs into 17 parts and 180 clauses. You can read a copy on the power ministry website at: http//www.powermin. When passed it'll replace the Indian Electricity Act, 1910; the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948; and the Electricity Regulatory Commissions Act, 1998.

Its key objectives are to: 'Delicence' the generation and captive generation of power Publish a national electricity and power policy Enable government companies to be transmission utilities at central and state levels Allow private companies the right to acquire transmission licences Recognise electricity trading as a distinct commercial activity Create limited liability companies out of state electricity boards Set up appellate tribunals for appeals against the regulatory commissions Impose tougher penalties to punish theft of electricity. The Blueprint for Power Sector Development wants: 100% metering and effective management information system backed by detailed energy audit Setting up of district level energy committees for monitoring and resource planning Development of 60 distribution circles as 'Centres of Excellence' for distribution reform Taking high voltage lines up to the load centre to prevent theft of power and reduction of 'Technical Losses' Signing of MOUs with states (19 have already signed up) to undertake distribution reforms Privatisation or corporatisation of distribution Tariff rationalisation by state regulators Demand-side management (unlike the present supply side management) such as time of day metering and tariffs Introduction of a system of matching time and load profiles for different zones in the country Conserving energy through the Energy Conservation Act which was passed in the last session of parliament