Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy, held an interaction with regulators from Central, State, and Joint Electricity Regulatory Commissions to address key issues and efforts needed to ensure a vibrant and sustainable power sector. The meeting took place at the office of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission in New Delhi on October 3, 2023.
During the meeting, Minister Singh reviewed the progress in establishing regulatory mechanisms to comply with the provisions of the Act, Policies, and Rules set by the Ministry of Power. He noted significant improvements since the last meeting in October 2022, including the timely issuance of tariff orders and true-up orders by distribution companies, transmission licensees, and generating utilities. Minister Singh stressed that these actions are essential for achieving cost-reflective tariffs and enhancing the financial viability of the power sector.
While appreciating the regulators for their efforts in improving the power system, Minister Singh expressed concern about the rising number of pending cases in some regulatory commissions. He urged them to prioritize and expedite the resolution of long-pending cases.
Minister Singh emphasized the importance of ensuring that tariffs are cost-reflective and cover the entire cost of services provided by distribution companies (DISCOMs). He highlighted the government’s mandatory requirement for energy audits, which will help identify power leakage and theft, ultimately reducing Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses. He advised that the targets for AT&C loss reduction should be realistic.
Shri R.K. Singh underscored the significance of rolling out prepaid meters across the country to improve billing and collection efficiency for DISCOMs, ultimately enhancing their financial health and reducing working capital requirements.
Regarding subsidies for certain consumer categories, Minister Singh noted that it is the prerogative of state governments to decide. However, he stressed that state commissions must ensure that DISCOMs receive the subsidy amounts allocated by the state government. He reiterated that power is not free and must be paid for.
Minister Singh emphasized that the country’s development depends on the availability of uninterrupted power supply, 24×7. He pointed out that load shedding and blackouts are characteristics of underdeveloped and developing countries. He highlighted the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, which provide penalties for unnecessary load shedding, and called for their strict implementation.