Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, interacted with the Electricity Regulators during the 60th Meeting of the Forum of Regulators (FoR) .
In his address, Shri Goyal reiterated that while the Forum is a recommendatory body, it is incumbent upon the regulators to implement its recommendations in true spirit. For instance, the Forum has made salutary recommendations on RPO compliance including the need and framework of penalty for non-compliance of RPO. Model framework for energy accounting and settlement – which is the basic building block for energy transaction, has also been evolved. States should implement all such recommendations mandatorily in the larger interest of the development of the power sector , Shri Goyal added.
The Minister further stated that role of the States is of paramount importance in carrying forward reforms in power sector. The Government has come up with important policy initiatives to address chronic issues of power sector through its “UDAY” and “Power for All” schemes. These schemes are not only aimed at resolving legacy issues, but also provide futuristic roadmap leading to non-recurrence of any of the past problems. State Governments and State Utilities are the major stakeholders in implementation of the scheme. However, the Regulators have a critical role to play in ensuring speedy implementation and close monitoring of compliance of the norms and trajectories specified in the UDAY scheme.
Shri Goyal , while drawing attention to the issues which are sub judice at different judicial platforms, asked the Regulators to critically examine the matters before them and offer innovative solutions, so that time lag in approaching judicial forums seeking solutions could be reasonably avoided.
While stressing the need for independent and efficient discharge of duties by the Regulators, the Power Minister assured full cooperation of the Centre in resolving any issue that might come in the way of their taking decisions professionally. He drew attention towards the problems of stressed assets and solicited cooperation of the Regulators in resolving them and helping revive such assets. Since we have more than thirty State Electricity Regulators having different interpretation about some issues, he urged them to have uniformity in approach in the true spirit of implementation of Act and Policies.
Shri Goyal emphasised on the need for structured peer review by the Regulators themselves, which could set an example of self imposed accountability. He requested the Regulators to come up with State-wise while papers highlighting the problems specific to States and suggesting possible measures to address the same and offered to have a dedicated brainstorming session to jointly resolve such matters and take the reforms story forward in power sector.
The Power Minister also appreciated the CERC for going digital on June 15, 2017 when it conducted hearing through electronic mode– the first of its kind in any quasi judicial regulatory authority in India. The initiative is in line with the spirit of the Digital India initiative of the Government of India, and seeks to achieve economy and efficiency in disposal of petitions. Shri Goyal appreciated the active role being played by the FoR. Since its inception in 2005, the Forum has held 60 meetings so far and discussed and evolved consensus on wide ranging issues facing the power sector.
It was mentioned that initiative taken by Ministry of power to bring transparency in the procurement of Short term requirement of power through e-Bidding route using DEEP Portal has resulted in the substantial cost savings to the tune of approximately Rs 2000 Crs in the Financial Year 2016-17 with respect to previous year 2015-16.
During the meeting, Shri Goyal also launched Web Portal ‘MERIT’ i.e. Merit Order Despatch of Electricity for Rejuvenation of Income and Transparency and ‘Weather Portal for Power Sector’ . He also released Report on ‘Operational Analysis for Optimization of Hydro Resources & facilitating Renewable Integration in India.
FoR is a statutory body headed by Chairperson of Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) and having Chairpersons of all State Electricity Regulatory Commissions as its Members.