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Home News Power Sector News Keep PSEB single entity as in Tripura and Kerala - PSEB Engineers' Association

Keep PSEB single entity as in Tripura and Kerala - PSEB Engineers' Association

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PSEBPSEB Engineers Association has challenged the wrong projections being made by the votaries of unbundling to Chief Minister, Punjab on the performance of the Board and likely improvements in Punjab power sector after the unbundling of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).The association has again claimed that there is no legal obligation under Electricity Act 2003 to unbundle state electricity board. Kerala, Tripura states have already converted their electricity boards in to one company and Punjab should follow suit. PSEBEA once again took a strong stand to reform PSEB in the lines of KSEB by retaining it as a single company. But in Kerala their own counterpart, KSEBEA is actively campaigning against reforms with support from Congress unions

HS Bedi President of the Association said that out of 30 states in the country 14 states have so far unbundled their state electricity boards. However except Andhra Pradesh, all of the unbundled power utilities in other states are still operating with heavy losses and the subsidy burden on the state Governments has increased claimed Bedi.
The deterioration in performance of most of the utilities in states like Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam after unbundling has been well documented in a study carried out by Indian Institute of Public Administration as per orders of Government of India.

Padamjit Singh Patron of association said the main reason for the failure of power sector reforms in the country is total marginalization of power engineers in the process of change and decision making process. Out of 59 power utilities in the country after unbundling of twelve state electricity board only 4 power utilities are being headed by technocrats.

Bhupinder Singh General Secretary of Association said that PSEB is in the red not due to its structure but due to populist and wrong policies of the successive state governments. PSEB earned a profit of Rs. 175 Cr. in 2003-04 and subsidy paid by the state govt. to PSEB was just Rs. 837 Cr. Even after the announcement of free power to agriculture sector, PSEB earned a nominal profit of Rs. 13 Cr. in 2005-06 but slipped in to a loss of Rs. 1624 Cr. in 2006-07 as no tariff hike was allowed to PSEB in view of assembly elections in Feb. 2007.

Even the present govt. did not allow PSEB to file tariff petition for 2007-08 due to local body’s elections compelling the State Regulator to take suo-motto action and allowing a nominal tariff hike of 4.9%. The state government failed to pay a subsidy of Rs. 1362 Cr. to PSEB during 2007-08 and adjusted it against Loan badly affecting the cash flow of PSEB.

In case of unbundling, state government has to take over all unfunded liabilities of the Board and also support the ‘Financial Restructuring Plan’ so as to allow the new entities to start with a clean slate. PSEB has already utilized more than Rs. 1200 crores of employees provident fund for its capital works and the accumulated losses are more than Rs. 8000 crores.

Source - Punjab Newsline

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