We're world's best power grid: Veerappa Moily
We're world's best power grid: Veerappa Moily
Interview with Power minister
Kavita Chowdhury / Aug 02, 2012, 00:35 IST
The new power minister, in an interview with Kavita Chowdhury, talks about the challenges before him and how he intends to address those. Edited excerpts:
You have taken charge of the power ministry at a time when the country has seen the worst power crises in recent times. What are the immediate challenges before you?
Power is a very crucial sector, as it fuels growth; one per cent increase in power generation leads to one per cent increase in gross domestic product. For an inclusive economy like India, the power sector needs to keep pace with the industry’s growing demand.
What happened yesterday was the first such case since 2001. As soon I took over, I promised power supply would be restored at the earliest. And, now the power situation has stabilised 100 per cent. After all, we have the world’s best and largest power grid.
A committee has been constituted to probe the breakdown, and it would give its report in 15 days. Today, I held a meeting with this committee; it is looking into the causes and remedies. It would also ensure the stabilisation is sustained. With complete confidence, I state such things will not recur.
Your taking over seems to have been a case of ‘bad timing’, coinciding as it did with banner headlines screaming ‘world’s worst-ever power crisis’.
In these matters, we have no choice. But it can be considered an opportunity for me to prove myself.
Overdrawal of power by the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab has been cited as the reason behind the breakdown.
That was not the only reason. I do not want to get into a blame game of state versus state. I have convened a meeting of chief ministers and power ministers of the nine states affected by the power breakdown on August 6. The secretary in the power ministry would also hold a meeting with power secretaries of respective states on the same date. The purpose of the meetings would be to ensure this type of a crisis doesn’t recur.
The state governments and the Centre have to take steps to ensure this. The system has to work complementarily; this kind of debate--- state versus state or Centre versus state---should not be encouraged.
State governments and political parties have been doling out free power to the agricultural sector to win over electoral vote banks. Do you think it is time to put an end to this?
Why do you say that? Free power in the agriculture sector benefits agriculture. But it is true that a minimum rate would have to be paid by each state; resources for that have to be mobilised somehow. Electricity boards can’t live on borrowings. They can’t be debt-ridden.
Currently, 26 per cent of the losses are due to those arising from transmission and distribution, power thefts, etc. If this is reduced to 10 per cent, we would save that much power. All electricity boards are in debt. This can’t continue.
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Moily promises reforms, to meet CMs on Aug 6
BS Reporter / New Delhi Aug 02, 2012, 00:37 IST
Taking charge after two-days of massive power breakdown, new Union Power Minister Veerappa Moily promised to put in place mechanisms aimed at reforming the beleaguered sector.“We will take all measures necessary to improve grid security and bring about reforms. These would include islanding parts of the grid, increasing congestion charges, identifying the fault lines in the grid and imposing penalty for overdrawing power,”
Moily has called a meeting on August 6 with chief ministers of states affected by the recent power crisis. Chief secretaries and principal secretaries in charge of power of all the affected states will also meet power secretary P Uma Shankar on the same day to discuss remedial measures.Responding to speculation that heavy overdrawal by northern states might have led to Tuesday’s collapse of the three regional grids, Moily said it was not the time to indulge in a blame-game. “We must wait for the report of the expert group,” he said.
Moily said the Northern Grid failure on Monday had led to a generation loss of 32,000 Mw, while around 50,000 Mw was lost from the central and state power generating stations on Tuesday as the Eastern and North-Eastern grids also tripped.Moily said the task at hand was to reduce aggregate technical & commercial losses to around 12 per cent from an average of 28 per cent nationally. He said all states have the funds required for reforming the distribution sector, and the Centre will incentivise utilisation of the funds. Power Secretary P Uma Shankar said the discussions on islanding were still at a preliminary stage.
The basic, however, is to ensure supply to specific geographic regions and essential services remains intact in the event of a crisis of a nature on Tuesday.
Moily also said that the task at hand is to bring down Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) losses to around 12 per cent from an average of 28 per cent nationally. He added that all states have the funds required for reforming distribution sector but the centre will incentivize utilization of funds. Mounting losses of distribution utilities was a matter of concern, he said.