The government has drafted a bill to set up a central energy conservation authority to deal with the conservation of electrical and fossil fuel energy.
While the proposed authority will function at the central level, it will have coordinating agencies at the state level.
Power secretary P Abraham told Business Standard in New Delhi yesterday that the bill, to be called the energy conservation bill, would not deal with non-grid use of renewable sources of energy.Among other things, the bill provides for institutional support to organisations working in this area, grants by the Union government, and the constitution of an energy conservation fund. The authority will also have the power of inspection.
Speaking at a seminar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries on the power scenario in the northern states, Abraham highlighted the need for a consensus between industry and the government for finding short- and long-term solutions to meet the energy demands of industry.
The secretary said the Centre would soon initiate action on the recommendations of Sambhamurthy Committee, which looked into the issues affecting the hydro-electric potential of the country.
He said the government would soon come out with liquid fuel linkages for power projects.The state electricity boards, Abraham said, were not financially viable due to the unremunerative tariffs set by the government.
The proposed independent regulatory commission will be given a free hand to decide the power tariff. He said there was a need to establish a central electricity regulatory commission.
Talking about the various initiatives for the power sector, Abraham said that, apart from improving the plant load factor, the Centre attached high priority to completion of the ongoing projects. The Centre is asking the states to bring down the transmission and distribution losses and encourage captive generation, for which no permission is required from the Centre, the secretary said.
On the distribution front, Abraham said that while Haryana and Rajasthan had already adopted the Orissa model to privatise distribution in certain pockets, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat were taking similar steps.
CII president Shekhar Datta stressed the need to find short-term solutions to the problems arising out of power shortage. As a possible measure, he suggested renovation and modernisation of plants, which would help in achieving a growth in gross domestic product of 7 per cent and above.