Stop Black Marketing by Private Power Producers: AIPEF
Image Courtesy: The Financial Express
In the backdrop of the country’s power grids struggling to meet the electricity demand in the past few weeks, the All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) on Wednesday demanded an immediate meeting of the Forum of Regulators, “to stop the black marketing in energy exchange by private operators during crisis.”
The power engineers’ body has also demanded that an expert committee be constituted to “fix responsibility for the Coal Crisis and to evolve ways and means to avoid such crises in future.”
In a letter addressed to the Union Power Minister, AIPEF Chairman Shailendra Dubey on Wednesday urged that the subject of putting a cap on profiteering by Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the country may be discussed and finalised in the Forum of Regulators in the spirit of Section 62(1)a of Electricity Act 2003.
This must be, “immediately at top most priority to stop black marketing in energy exchange mostly by private operators during crisis,” Dubey added in the letter.
Power cuts and blackouts were reported in numerous states in the country including Punjab and Jharkhand among others this month due to shortage in the supply of coal. The development is significant given that this shortage has come at a time when the economy is showing signs of recovery and the festival season has already begun.
The letter by AIPEF states that since coal shortage is recognized as a major factor causing a hike in power rates, the Power Ministry must stress for ending future coal shortages otherwise the episode would repeat in the future as well.
“The present case of coal shortage leading to spike in energy rates, it was necessary for state regulators as well as Central Electricity Regulatory Commission(CERC) to intervene and impose price caps to prevent excessive profiteering by IPPs and also to ensure that unbearable burden is not put on consumers of Discoms,” the AIPEF said in a statement on Wednesday. It added that Discoms are constrained to purchase high cost power in order to limit the power cuts. “This leads to a deterioration of Discom finances which are already stressed.”
The power engineers’ body demanded that a one expert committee with a Central Electricity Authority (CEA) member should be constituted immediately to enquire about the coal shortage induced power crisis in the country so that the reason for, “the present crisis is technically analysed and accordingly stern action is taken against those responsible for the crisis.”
AIPEF has also expressed its concern over the closure of ultra mega power plants of Tata and Adani at Mundra, “which are run by imported coal and have nothing to do with the present coal crisis in the country,” according to its statement, where they also maintained that the “heavy backing down” of IPP’s in Rosa, Lalitpur and Bara is also “adding to the crisis.”
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