Union Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister interacts with Forum of Regulators

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Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy Shri R.K. Singh interacted with the regulators from Central, State and Joint Electricity Regulatory Commissions to discuss the efforts to be made by Regulatory Commissions for a viable and vibrant power sector. He reviewed the progress made in establishment of regulatory mechanisms for the compliance of the provisions of the Act, Policies and Rules notified by the Ministry of Power. The interaction was held at the office of Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, in New Delhi on October 3, 2023.

The Power Minister observed that since the last meeting held in October 2022, there has been huge improvement in many areas including timely issuance of tariff orders and true-up orders of the distribution companies, transmission licensees and generating utilities. This is very crucial for cost-reflective tariff, leading to financial viability of the power sector, said the Minister.  Shri Singh appreciated the efforts of the regulators for improved functioning of the power system. However, he expressed concern on the increase in pendency of cases in some Commissions and advised the Commissions to dispose of long-pending cases on priority.

The Minister urged the regulators to ensure that the tariff is cost-reflective, covering the entire cost of service of DISCOMs. He pointed out that Government of India has made energy audit compulsory. This shall be monitored, as it will help in identifying areas of leakage / theft of power and help in reducing AT&C losses. He advised that the trajectories for reduction of AT&C losses should be realistic.

Shri R.K. Singh emphasized on the rollout of pre-paid meters in the country which will increase the billing and collection efficiency of the DISCOMs, resulting in improvement in their financial health. Further, this will also reduce the working capital requirements of DISCOMs, due to upfront payment by consumers.

The Power Minister stressed that while the decision to provide subsidy to a particular category of consumers is the prerogative of the State government, as regulators, it is incumbent upon State Commissions to ensure that DISCOMs get subsidy amount from the State Government. Shri Singh said that State Governments are free to declare subsidies but they have to be paid for. He reiterated that power is not free and it has to be paid for.

The Minister said that development of the country is not possible without availability of power. The power supply has to be 24×7. Shri Singh highlighted that the difference between a developed and developing/under-developed country is the load shedding/blackouts in case of the latter category. The Union Minister pointed out that the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules provide for penalties for gratuitous load shedding, and he stressed that the Rules must be implemented.

The Regulators assured to follow suggestions by the Minister for maintaining conducive regulatory ecosystem to develop a financially viable and environmentally sustainable power sector.



PIB DELHI | Alok Mishra / Dheep Joy Mampilly

Source PIB