Govt to pri­va­tise dis­coms in UTs, PPP in states

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - FRONT PAGE - Ut­pal Bhaskar ut­pal.b@livemint.com

NEW DELHI: In­dia will pri­va­tise elec­tric­ity dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies (dis­coms) in all its eight union ter­ri­to­ries, and ex­plore pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ships for power dis­tri­bu­tion in some states, Union power min­is­ter Raj Kumar Singh has said.

NEW DELHI: In­dia will pri­va­tize elec­tric­ity dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies (dis­coms) in all its eight union ter­ri­to­ries, and ex­plore pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ships for power dis­tri­bu­tion in some states, Union power min­is­ter Raj Kumar Singh said.

The Cen­tre has in­formed the Union ter­ri­to­ries about the de­ci­sion, Singh said at a dig­i­tal in­ter­ac­tion with power sec­tor chief ex­ec­u­tives.

Un­like dis­coms in states gov­erned by the re­spec­tive state gov­ern­ments, those in Union ter­ri­to­ries are di­rectly ad­min­is­tered by the cen­tral gov­ern­ment.

“So as far as the Union ter­ri­to­ries are con­cerned, we have de­cided that we will put in place a dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem which is based on to­tally open, trans­par­ent, com­pet­i­tive, com­mer­cial prin­ci­ples. So, you peo­ple are wel­come to com­pete,” Singh said at an event or­gan­ised by lobby group Con­fed­er­a­tion of In­dian In­dus­try (CII).

The move comes in the back­drop of the gov­ern­ment on Wed­nes­day an­nounc­ing a re­form-linked ~90,000 crore bailout pack­age for fund­starved dis­coms, along with con­ces­sional tariffs.

“We will be bid­ding them out for dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies to take up. And all the Union ter­ri­to­ries have been told that we will have dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies that are from the pri­vate sec­tor,” Singh added.

In­dia’s elec­tric­ity dis­tri­bu­tion re­forms scheme — ten­ta­tively named Atal Dis­tri­bu­tion Sys­tem Im­prove­ment Yo­jana (Aditya)— aims to cut elec­tric­ity losses be­low 12%.

In­dia’s av­er­age ag­gre­gate tech­ni­cal and com­mer­cial loss are cur­rently at 21.4%.

The scheme aims to en­sure con­tin­u­ous sup­ply of power, by pri­va­tiz­ing state-run dis­coms and negat­ing tar­iff gaps.

Pre­paid smart me­ters will be made manda­tory across the power dis­tri­bu­tion chain, in­clud­ing 250 mil­lion house­holds.

Singh said the Union gov­ern­ment will ap­proach some other states for a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship (PPP) mode on the lines of Delhi or Odisha to bid out their dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies.

Odisha was the first state to pri­va­tize its power dis­tri­bu­tion sec­tor into four dis­coms in 1999.

This was fol­lowed by Delhi, which pri­va­tised three of its dis­coms in July 2002: BSES Ra­jd­hani Power Ltd (BRPL), BSES Ya­muna Power Ltd (BYPL) and Tata Power Delhi Dis­tri­bu­tion Ltd. There is a grow­ing in­ter­est in power dis­coms.

Mint re­ported on 12 May about at least eight in­vestors show­ing ini­tial in­ter­est in buy­ing Re­liance In­fra­struc­ture Ltd’s Delhi power dis­tri­bu­tion busi­nesses.

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