New Delhi: Union Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy (I/C) and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Shri RK Singh inaugurated the ‘Conference of Power and Renewable Energy Ministers of States and UTs’ at Tent City, Narmada, Gujarat today. The two-day Conference is being attended by the Energy Ministers and top officials of energy departments of the States. This is the first such conference after achieving near universal household electrification under Saubhagya scheme wherein 26.6 million households were connected in a record time of 16-17 months.
Inaugurating the Conference, Union Power Minister paid homage to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and said that country is indebted to him for unifying over 500 princely states into one nation. Talking about power sector, he said that India can not become a developed country without a sustainable and viable power sector which supplies 24/7 power for all.
“We have to make sure that Indian power sector attracts investments. That would happen only when there is Ease of Doing Business and sanctity of contracts is not violated.” said Shri Singh. He also stressed upon the need for timely payments by Discoms to the power generators.
Highlighting the need to make power prices competitive and affordable, the Minister said that common man should not be forced to bear the burden of system’s inefficiencies. He also stressed upon the consumers’ right for quality service.
To reduce power losses and to increase billing and collection efficiency, the Minister reiterated his vison to switch over to smart prepaid metering. “Smart prepaid meters are pro-poor as consumer is not forced to pay whole month’s bill at one go. Also, it increases ease of bill payments and minimizes the chances of power theft”, said Shri Singh highlighting the benefits of smart prepaid meters. He urged all States to install these meters in all government departments on priority basis.
Talking of climate change, the Minister said that it has become a major concern world over and India is committed to fight climate change in every possible way. Mentioning KUSUM scheme, he said that it would solarize agriculture pumps in coming years. This will not only reduce States’ subsidy burden but also benefit farmers who will sell surplus power to government. It’ll also incentivize farmers to use groundwater judiciously and save electricity as they’ll be able earn money by selling the spare electricity to government, the Minister added.
Addressing the Conference, Secretary, Power, Shri Subhash Chandra Garg welcomed all delegates and highlighted key issues that would be deliberated upon in coming two days.
In his inaugural address, Secretary, MNRE, Shri Anand Kumar said that for India climate change has been a matter of faith and commitment. He expressed confidence that India would achieve the target of 175 GW renewable energy capacity well before the deadline of December, 2022. He also mentioned the new ambitious target of 450 GW announced by the Prime Minister in his UN speech. On the contentious issue of revisiting PPAs, the Secretary said that PPAs once signed should not be revisited unless there is a provision to this fact in the PPA itself or there is a malafied case of corruption.
The Conference being held on 11- 12 October, 2019 will see deliberation over a range of issues pertaining to power and renewable energy sector such as – 24/7 power supply for all, Ease of doing business, Sanctity of contracts, regulatory issues, implementation of various schemes e.g. PM-KUSUM, SRISTI, DDUGJY, IPDS, setting up of Ultra Mega Renewable Energy Parks, transmission, energy conservation etc.
Seventh Annual Integrated Rating of State Distribution Utilities for FY 2017-18 released –
The inauguration of the Conference also saw the release of Seventh Annual Integrated Rating of State Distribution Utilities by the Union Power Minister. 41 utilities from 22 States have been rated in this ranking, out of which seven Utilities have been given A+ rating. A total of 20 Utilities have been upgraded this year as compared to last year.
Integrated Rating of State Distribution Utilities is an annual exercise carried out since 2012 by the Ministry of Power, Govt. of India. Power Finance Corporation (PFC) a PSU under the Ministry of Power is coordinating agency for the rating exercise. PFC has appointed ICRA and CARE as the designated credit rating agencies for carrying out the rating exercise.