PATIALA: The All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) in a letter to R K Singh Union Power Minister has made several suggestions on the power sector reforms including financial crisis facing the power distribution companies, electricity (amendment) bill 2014, solar power and nuclear power.
The federation has pointed out that the power supply industry is under severe financial and operational distress due to various factors. The consequences of this are spilling over to the financial institutions and capital goods industry. Solutions to the financial crisis like the UDAY scheme are merely temporary arrangements. Unless a final solution is found in respect of the securitized debt, there is a danger that the debts may be sold in the international debt market.
The financial crisis cannot be resolved unless the power purchase agreements (PPAs) are reviewed and payment for power that has not been consumed on account of the provision of fixed costs and this runs into thousands of crores of rupees. Electricity (Amendment ) Bill 2014 would accentuate the above stated financial crisis causing irreparable damage to the power supply industry.The Government of India should keep the Electricity Bill 2014 in abeyance till there is extensive consultation with all stakeholders including power engineers and employees.
The techno-economic scrutiny and mandatory approval by the Central Electricity Authority needs to be restored The experience of the addition of power generation since 2003 has created serious problems such as excess capacity and stressed and stranded assets resulting in huge non performing assets (NPAs) with Banks and damage to the indigenous manufacturing units due to imports, often with allegation of over-invoicing, of capital goods.
On nuclear power, the AIPEF has pointed out that the world over nuclear power is being discouraged and several manufacturers are becoming bankrupt. In this situation, these firms and the Governments of the country of their origin are pushing hard for India to purchase their equipment.In some of the cases, the proposed nuclear plants have unproven technologies and have not operated anywhere in the world. There is absolutely no justification for importing nuclear power plants in a nontransparent manner without adequate information in the public domain, particularly those relating to cost and basic design features.
Regarding renewable energy, there is no need for a knee-jerk reaction to climate change. India is not one of the major polluting nations and its emissions are very small on a per-capita basis. Addition of solar energy should take into consideration not merely the cost but also concerns of system operation. Large Giga Watt solar stations would require transmission that would be utilized only for a fraction of the time.