Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The Centre is set to roll out a clutch of power reforms over the next few months including measures to fulfil the ruling BJP's commitment to provide uninterrupted electricity supply in cooperation with state governments.

After dealing with the crucial ordinance for coal block e-auction, the government will start dealing with other long-pending issues to boost power sector, officials said, adding that power minister Piyush Goyal will start launching programmes for which the government has made budgetary allocations.

"Power ministry has availed most of the approvals from government departments concerned for strengthening transmission and distribution networks, separating feeders for agriculture and households in rural areas and promoting ultra mega solar power projects in four states. It is time for Goyal to bring state governments on board to engage them in Centre's initiatives," a power ministry official said.

The official, who did not wish to be named, added that the power ministry will start rolling out various initiatives within a month or two while work is also in progress for reforms in Electricity Act 2003.

The government has sought stakeholders' feedback for the proposed amendments in Electricity Act by mid-November, ahead of the winter session of Parliament. "Fuel supply was one of the most crucial challenges that the power sector was facing.

The government has come up with a road map for e-auction of coal blocks and price pooling for fuels to ensure adequate coal and natural gas supplies for the power plants. While fuel supplies will improve gradually, it is time for the government to reduce commercial losses in the areas of electricity transmission and distribution," said the official.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley had in July allocated Rs500 crore each for Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and ultra mega solar power projects besides Rs200 crore for strengthening Delhi's transmission network, among other programmes.

Goyal, who was busy campaigning for Maharashtra assembly polls, will shortly initiate dialogues with various state governments to ensure "power for all", officials said. Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi have already come on board for the programme while Goyal wants to cover as many states a possible before the next Union Budget, an official said.

Under the initiative, the Centre will provide financial assistance to improve power generation and strengthen transmission and distribution network besides funding energy saving systems.