Major Initiatives as Minister of Power
As Union Cabinet Minister of Power, Shri Suresh P. Prabhu has undertaken a number of initiatives notable of which are
Action Plan for capacity augmentation
Shri Prabhu set for the ministry a target of power for all to be achieved through its availability, accessibility and affordability. The 16th Electric Power Survey was released by the Central Electricity Authority. As a sequel, an Action Plan for capacity addition of over 100,000MW of power as well as providing the associated transmission and distribution systems was drawn up in the Ministry.
A high level multidisciplinary committee constituted under the Special Secretary (Power) submitted a report for reduction of cost of power and thus making it affordable.
Electricity Act, 2003
The Ministry has set for itself a target of providing electricity for all by the year 2012 to be achieved through its availability, accessibility and affordability. The 16th Electric Power Survey has recently been released by the Central electricity Authority. As a sequel, an Action Plan for capacity addition of over 100,000MW of pwer as well as providing the associated transmission and distribution systems has been drawn up in the Ministry.
A high level multidisciplinary committee constituted under the Special Secretary (Power) has submitted a report for reduction of cost of power and thus making it affordable. The report is under implementation.
Electricity bill, 2001
Through a process of extensive consultation, a reasonable consensus was built in respect of the integrated Electricity bill, 2001 which was introduced in the Parliament. a massive public awareness drive was launched by addressing personal letters to member of opposition parties, public representatives and the media and holding separate meetings with captains of industry and heads of financial institutions, multilateral agencies and trade unions and by conducting over 2000 Road shows countrywide. All of it resulted in Electricity Act 2003 becoming a reality
Electricity Act,2003 transformed the Indian Power Sector by introducing non-discriminatory open access in the transmission segment and mandated State Electricity Regulatory Commissions to introduce open access in distribution after taking into consideration state-specific conditions. This legislation enhanced India’s power generation capacity and private investments in power sector.
Transparency in bidding and Tenders
Shri Prabhu took steps to introduce transparency in the tendering and bidding process. The initiative was taken to setup an exclusive web site for tenders in the power sector which not only included the information from the CPSUs, SEBs etc., but from the power sector in general. An icon on Ministry’s web site for this purpose was introduced. Direct links with PSUs were established through National Informatics Center (NIC)
Notice inviting tender for all public sector undertakings was made accessible through a dedicated icon on the Ministry’s website. Some states also provided linkage to this icon in respect of their respective power sector.
Reform Inducing Memoranda of Understanding with States
The Ministry under the leadership of Shri Prabhu interacted with each State to draw up reform-linked Memoranda of Understanding wherein its commitment towards reform was brought out through measurable milestones in return for proactive Central support in project development, system improvement and power allocation.
Accelerated Power Development Programme (APDP)
The Government sanctioned Rs 1000 crore for the Accelerated Power Development Programme (APDP) in order to improve operational efficiency of old generating stations through renovation/modernization and reduce the transmission and distribution losses. APDP was used as an instrument to achieve the twin objectives of ensuring power sector reforms in states and improving the financial and technical health of electricity utilities
For the implementation of APDP scheme, model districts were identified as centers of excellence in respect of supply and distribution under APDP
- Instrumental in preparation of a seven-year Action Plan for Rural Electrification to complete electrification of all villages in the country
- Setting up credit support from Rural Electrification Corporation to State Electricity Boards for speedy electrification of dalit bastis, households of scheduled tribes and other weaker sections of society
- Improved the quality of power supply in villages by strengthening of the distribution network in partnership with Rural Electrification Corporation
- Augmented resources of REC by allowing it to float capital gains tax exemption bonds
- FDI in transmission encouraged through two routes: Joint Ventures and through Independent Power Transmission Corporation (IPTC)
- Took initiatives for getting amended the Indian Electricity Act, 1998 to enable private sector participation in transmission
- Issued guidelines to all states on captive power development, keeping in mind the needs of industry and interest of economy
- Prepared specific plan to ensure financial closure of IPPs
- Prepared a holistic six level intervention strategy for distribution reforms in power sector and strengthening State Electricity Boards
- On commercial front, took action to ensure tamper proof meters, operationalised energy accounting, implemented decentralized computerized billing system
- On technical front, ensured conversion of the existing distribution network into a high voltage distribution system, re-conductoring of overloaded lines, power factor correction, GIS network
- Effected restructuring of manpower to rationalize and fix accountability
Sustainable Power Development
- Set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to take up afforestation and stipulated environmental measures
- Took steps to enhance use of fly ash products in Government infrastructure projects
- Partnered with Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) to address various aspects of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)