The high-level power sector advisory group, consisting of top industrialists led by Cyrus Mistry of Tata Group, Anil Ambani of Reliance Power and GM Rao of GMR Group, urged Jyotiraditya Scindia to resolve problems faced by the sector such as fuel scarcity, delays in green clearances and difficulties with bidding documents.
Industrialists, along with top bankers and heads of state firms, will meet the power minister again after two weeks, Scindia told reporters after the meetings. The advisory group has been constituted by the power ministry to help resolve the issues impacting the sector. "We discussed the concerns of the sector and decided to meet again in couple of weeks to discuss standard bidding documents. We are open to hear the power producers and deal with their concerns. Power producers also conveyed their wish list for the budget," said the power minister.
Industry officials said former power secretary RV Shahi has been asked to seek feedback from power producers on standard biding documents, before the ministry of power approaches the empowered group of ministers after budget session. ICICI Bank chief executive officer Chanda Kochar voiced concerns of bankers, who have lent large amounts to projects that are struggling. Scindia said he had assured power producers that they and ministry are not opposed to each other and need to find out ways together.
Scindia disagreed with the West Bengal government's allegation that price pooling, in which low-cost domestic coal and imported coal are sold at a uniform average price, is a ploy to help some companies at the cost of consumers. "As a minister of power for India, my priority is to ensure adequate electricity for every citizen of the nation. For that I must ensure fuel for all the power producers, be it state or privately owned. In every decision, there will be people who are satisfied and dissatisfied." He added that ministry will ensure that tariff do not rise exponentially and was trying various permutations and combinations for pool pricing mechanism.
The ministry of power intends to give more powers to Power Grid Corporation subsidiary Power Operation System Co and turn it into regulator for transmission in the next one year. Scindia said state utilities must tie up for 80% of their power requirements for the long term since expensive short-term power compels them to opt for load shedding to reduce losses. The ministry is hopeful that all the state utilities will come on board for financial restructuring plan soon as majority of the state governments have given nod for the same.