Pan-in­dia con­sen­sus very soon on re­vival of dis­coms: Piyush Goyal

PIYUSH GOYAL , THE UNION MIN­IS­TER FOR POWER, TALKS ABOUT GOV­ERN­MENT POL­ICY TO BOOST GROWTH IN THE SEC­TOR. EDITED EX­CERPTS:

Resource Digest - - CONTENTS -

WHEN WILL THE CEN­TRE'S MUCH-DE­BATED RE­VIVAL PACK­AGE FOR THE AIL­ING DIS­TRI­BU­TION SEC­TOR BE IS­SUED? Af­ter cab­i­net ap­proval. At this stage, the crit­i­cal thing is to re­solve the dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies’ (dis­coms’) prob­lem, af­ter hav­ing re­solved the coal prob­lem. Now, coal is avail­able in plenty, and as the dis­coms' health im­proves, power off­take will im­prove. As that hap­pens, cou­pled with re­duc­tion in ag­gre­gate tech­ni­cal and com­mer­cial losses, for which the Cen­tre and states are work­ing to­gether, I am very con­fi­dent that with­out sig­nif­i­cant stress on con­sumers, we will be able to bring the sec­tor as a whole into good shape.

SOME STATES ARE NOT COM­ING ON BOARD, FEAR­ING THE CEN­TRE MIGHT TAKE BACK MONEY IF THEY FAILED TO AD­HERE TO THE NORMS ON DIS­TRI­BU­TION RE­FORMS...

The Cen­tre is not go­ing to take back any­thing from any state. Ev­ery state has hailed the pro­pos­als. Al­ready, five or six of the ma­jor states have fully come on board. Very soon, we will have a pan-In­dia con­sen­sus on the en­tire pro­posal. Let us wait for some time.

WILL THERE BE ANY FI­NAN­CIAL BAILOUT PACK­AGE?

Not a sin­gle state has asked for this. They are happy at a pack­age which might not be giv­ing money in terms of a cheque but gives so many other ben­e­fits that will help them re­duce the cost of power, of in­ef­fi­ciency. We will help them to get a lower in­ter­est rate for their bor­row­ing. All of which will go to re­duc­ing the dis­coms' losses. The idea is to tap all pos­si­ble av­enues to save cost and bring bet­ter ser­vice to con­sumers. As for set­ting of rates, that it a reg­u­la­tor's role and I think they do their job very well. States and Cen­tre are to­gether in this ef­fort, ir­re­spec­tive of po­lit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy. Last week, I had a very good meet­ing with the bankers, who were most un­der­stand­ing in their ap­proach, in a pos­i­tive frame of mind to look at the power sec­tor as a pos­i­tive av­enue for in­vest­ment in the years to come.

IS THE TAR­GET OF 175,000 MW IN THE RE­NEW­ABLE SEC­TOR ACHIEV­ABLE BY 2022?

At present, we have about 35,000 Mw of re­new­able en­ergy (RE). We have com­mit­ments from stake­hold­ers and in­vestors to in­vest for 276,000 Mw in six and a half years, against our tar­get of 175,000 Mw. Bankers and in­vest­ment bankers are telling me the ap­petite for fi­nanc­ing renewables is un­heard of. Ev­ery­body in the world wants to come and in­vest in In­dia to­day in RE, in­clud­ing the bond mar­ket. You can raise the money at be­low 10 per cent in­ter­est. All this will re­sult in lower pric­ing of RE and help In­dia's en­ergy se­cu­rity.

HAS THE GOV­ERN­MENT PUT ON HOLD FUR­THER DE­VEL­OP­MENT OF UL­TRA MEGA POWER PROJECTS (UMPPS)?

Not at all. Right now, the de­mand for power has to be re­assessed to make a clear pro­jec­tion for the fu­ture. I still have sig­nif­i­cant ca­pac­ity which is not fully utilised. Then, there are lot of stressed plants which I am con­fi­dent will come on­stream and re­sult in a lot of ca­pac­ity. Once I have planned what is the ca­pac­ity ad­di­tion and what is the de­mand, I will know at what stage how much in­vest­ment is re­quired. As far as the im­ported UMPP in Tamil Nadu is con­cerned, the Pratyush Sinha com­mit­tee re­port is awaited. We will soon be is­su­ing a ten­der for that. Odisha is there. In Bi­har, once the elec­tions get over, we can look at that. We are go­ing ahead and five UMPPs will be bid out in 2015-16. We will go for much more in states which give us land the fastest and give us a power pur­chase agree­ment.

PIYUSH GOYAL, UNION MIN­IS­TER FOR POWER

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