Posted: 08 Aug 2011 02:10 PM PDT
Consumers in Bihar are likely to access electricity from the source of their choice. According to sources, Bihar is likely to actively encourage the provision of non-discriminatory open access for the consumer under Section 42 (2) of the Electricity Act 2003 with minimum charges to provide immediate relief from power shortages for long hours by giving them a choice.
“Open access will not only provide for consumer choice as desired in Electricity Act 2003 but also help the state in reducing its power deficit in the short run by drawing power from other states and generators across the country to meet its immediate needs,” said an official.
To enhance transparency and encourage efficiency in power sector, the state government is already in the process of unbundling the BSEB into five different entities covering generation, transmission and distribution.
Under the restructuring plan, distribution sector would be hived off to private companies through an auction. The companies are likely to be given strict targets to reduce distribution losses in a specific time period. Besides, these companies would be made to provide the same standard of service to consumers in both urban and rural areas, said a senior government official.
The state government should provide subsidy (to these distribution companies) during the transition period to make them financially viable, said an expert.
This could provide the necessary stimulus to growth in the industrial and services sectors, both of which are dependent on power. The two sectors can generate employment opportunities for the Bihar’s young population on a large scale.
Harry Dhaul, director general, Power Producers Association of India (IPPAI), during his recent visit to the city said that complete separation of State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC) from the BSEB was needed to enable the growth of open access and development of markets, enhancement of consumer choice as well as power trading, since the SLDC will function in an independent manner and not as part of SEB.
To facilitate this, personnel from Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) may be deputed to the State Load Dispatch Centre to start with, he said.
The state government could provide sales tax benefits, subsidies, tax breaks and other incentives for setting up new generation capacities in backward areas for projects based not only on biomass, solar, wind and other alternative energy sources but also on conventional sources such as coal, hydro and natural gas.
This would not only help in attracting investments into the power sector but also help in the development of backward areas by way of continuous power availability for industry, commerce, agriculture and other activities, said another expert.
This is essential to ensure that Bihar develops manufacturing industry and services sector, so as to generate jobs, said a recent document of IPPAI on the power sector.
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