OdishaPlus Bureau

Raj kumar singh

Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy, Raj Kumar Singh has lauded the role of Odisha for being the leader in electricity reform in the country and has exhorted other states to emulate the current phase of reform in this eastern state.

While complimenting Odisha Government, he hoped that loss reduction and improvement in customer satisfaction through professional management should be brought about through private sector involvement in all other states.

Singh mentioned Odisha’s success story in power reforms during the two-day Review, Planning & Monitoring (RPM) meeting which was held by the Union Ministry of Power in New Delhi on the 9th and 10th of this month. While the state of Uttar Pradesh made a presentation on smart meter roll-out, Odisha was asked to make a presentation on DISCOM reforms carried out by the state.

Bishnupada Sethi, Odisha’s Principal Secretary, Energy, spoke at length on how the state of Odisha had taken the lead in the country in undertaking power sector reform with the enactment of the Odisha Electricity Reform Act, 1995.

As a pioneer in the distribution sector reform from 1st unbundling to first privatization, Odisha had led the way in the reform nearly a decade before the enactment of the Electricity Act, 2003. Unbundling of OSEB into OHPC and GRIDCO (T&D) to the corporatization of the distribution segment and privatization of four DISCOMs in the year 1999 happened during the first phase of privatization.

electricity actAfter the enactment of the Electricity Act 2003, Odisha again is the front runner in distribution sector reforms with the first sale of a utility under Section 20 of the said Act. Sethi stated that the current reform in the distribution sector by following a well-designed framework was going to address the concerns of all stakeholders to create a win-win situation for all.

While the consumer will benefit on account of certainty of tariff due to rapid AT&C loss reduction, improved customer service, improved quality of power, reliable 24×7 power supply, the employees will benefit due to increased focus on capacity building, better growth opportunities and assurance on terminal liabilities.

Increased private sector investment will reduce the strain on government budgetary resources giving the flexibility to spend the resources on much needed social sector. Higher efficiency, professional management will provide dividends to the government agencies, private investors and the electricity sector.

Sethi explained in detail about the transparent and balanced transaction framework followed by the Regulatory Commission with the pre-defined target, incentives, and penalty clauses. Discussion was held on the bid specific parameters like baseline setting, regulatory certainty, gain retention, CAPEX commitment, government support, performance monitoring and freedom from past liabilities for the private investor.

The meeting covered many topics such as new reform linked distribution scheme, smart metering implementation models, multiple franchise models, power market design, rationalization of ISTS transmission charges, RoW, and Forest Clearances, etc. Various schemes like IPDS, DDUGJY, Metering of feeders and distribution transformers, PAT, schemes on solar and other renewable energy were reviewed by the Minister.