Web Exclusive | August 2014
15th Regulators & Policymakers Retreat 2014
The 15th Regulators & Policymakers Retreat held in Goa from July 31-Aug 3, 2014 saw scintillating debates on key power sector issues like transparency, and competition and tariff reform; even as utilities from Gujarat, Delhi and West Bengal stole the show at the IPPAI award function.
In the best performing regulators category, Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission won the top award while the Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission ended up as the runner-up.
Welspun Energy Pvt and A2Z Infrastructure were among companies which bagged IPPAI awards for their innovative skills.
Key power sector issues were debated by experts at length in a series of panel discussions. During the Retreat, Experts analyzed on the rising coal and gas prices and warned that the Indian industry could soon become uncompetitive due to high electricity costs if this trend is not checked.
VK Garg, former chairman, joint Electricity Regulatory Commission, Goa and Union Territories, suggested rationalising rail freight to bring down coal costs for power generation. Sushil Maroo, CEO, Essar Power, too supported Garg’s suggestion. He said power plants should be set up near pitheads to save on coal transportation costs. As per an estimate, 80% of the country’s coal-based generation capacity is located away from coal sources. In some of these cases, coal transportation charges alone contribute to more than Re 1 of the electricity tariff.
Asheesh Sharma, MD, Maharashtra State Power Generating Company Ltd, said, Coal India Ltd should provide the same quality of coal that it commits to provide. He added that until this quality issue is resolved, domestic coal pricing should not be linked to the international market. Gopal Saxena, Director, BSES discom, said he was worried about the legal status of the regulatory assets.
Energy costs of the industry in the US, China, and Europe are expected to fall in the coming years due to the shale gas revolution in those countries, even as the electricity tariff rises at an alarming pace in India. In this context, Harry Dhaul, Director General, IPPAI, warned that over the next 5-10 years, the Indian industry could see a drastic erosion in its competiveness vis-à-vis manufacturers from these countries if effective ways are not found to cut power costs.
Former Union power minister Suresh Prabhu and Salman Khurshid, former external affairs minister, debated the issue of transparency in public policy formulation. Prabhu said that a policy-making statement should only be made in parliament to bring transparency in the exercise and avoid unnecessary controversy which could lead to scrutiny from agencies like the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), the CBI, and the Supreme Court, thus spoiling the investment climate.
“A policy-making statement should be made in parliament, only then will it have the stamp of authority that no agency will raise questions over it. This will also bring transparency, clarity, and stability in the policy regime,” Prabhu said in reply to Khurshid’s remark that investigation agencies often get suspicious when the government pursues policymaking in a sector proactively.
He also called for empowering these house panels to evaluate performance of key government functionaries.
Talking about the power sector, Prabhu suggested monitoring commercial losses of distribution companies on a monthly basis instead of annually, as is the practice at present.
Narendra Taneja, National Convener for BJP’s energy cell, suggested building a long-term relationship with Iran to ensure energy security for the country.
Anurag Goel, Member, Competition Commission of India, called for improving governance to bring transparency and stability in the country’s economic policy, which is critical to attracting private investment in key infrastructure sectors like telecom, road and power.
Goel said that infrastructure can be developed only through partnership but that converting stakeholders into shareholders remains a challenge.
Justice Deepak Verma, former Supreme Court judge, called for creating awareness about the economic impact of court judgements. Participating in another panel discussion, Meera Shankar, former Indian ambassador to the US, said that due to the shale gas revolution, America could become the next energy exporter in the coming years, which would put a downward pressure on international energy prices to the benefit of energy deficient countries like India.
Talking about energy security, G Parthasarathy, former High Commissioner of India to Pakistan, said he did not see much possibility of transnational gas pipelines from Iran and Turkmenistan coming up in the geopolitical scenario prevailing in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Presenting the geopolitical scenario in the Middle East, Pathikrit Payne, a senior researcher at the Security Watch of India, noted that the Islamic State (ISIS) operating in Syria and Iraq was trading crude oil instead of destroying energy assets, thus strengthening its financial muscle which could enable it to create trouble for other countries in the region.
The Retreat was supported by the Ministry of Power, Ministry of Coal, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy. During the Retreat, IPPAI with its knowledge Partner Deloitte, presented Power Awards 2014 to the outstanding performers in the Power Sector.
List of IPPAI Power Awards 2014 winners:
Award for the most progressive State in the power Sector
Smt Shahmeena Husain, Director, GUVNL received the award on behalf of Gujarat
Mr. Rajneesh Srivastava, Additional GM & EO to CMD, Delhi Transco received the award on behalf of Delhi
2nd Runner up- West Bengal
Mr. Susanta Kumar Das, Managing Director, WBSETCL received the award on behalf of West Bengal
2. Award for for the best distribution company
Winner- Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited
Mr. Sandeep Kumar, Managing Director and Mr. K M Bhuva CE(Tech) received the award on behalf of Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited
3) Award for the Best Performing State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC)
Winner- Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC)
Runner up- Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission
The jury had decided to recognize some of the outstanding and ‘out of the box’ innovations implemented by power sector companies in their respective areas. The IPPAI Power Award 2014 was given to the most innovative Company after a yearly assessment of the nominated technologies.
4) Award of Recognition for Innovation:
The distinguished members of the Jury were:
- Welspun Energy Pvt Ltd gets recognition for Retrofitting of Reflector in Solar PV Panels
- A2Z Infrastructure Ltd. gets recognition for Conversion of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to Energy
- BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) gets recognition for Meter Data Analytics Module (MDAM)
- Welspun Energy Pvt Ltd gets recognition for the methodology of laying cables in hilly terrains
- BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) gets recognition for Modular Integrated Distribution Automation System (MIDAS)
- CESC Limited, Southern generating station, gets recognition for Cryogenic Isolation Methodology in O&M
- Reliance Infrastructure Limited gets recognition for Feeder Pillar Box Design for Theft Control
- CESC Limited, Southern generating station, gets recognition for Energy conservation-3x15 Kw Micro Hydel on CW Outfall
- JSW Energy Limited gets recognition for Utilisation of Surplus Blast Furnace Gas
- WBSEDCL gets recognition for Innovative Usage of Energy in Purulia Pump Storage Project
- Sesa Sterlite Limited, Jharsuguda gets recognition for Modification to stabilize Coal Fired Power Plant
- Prof. S L Rao, Former Chairman, CERC
- Mr. Ajay Shankar Former Secretary – DIPP, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, & Member secretary National Mfg Competitiveness Council(NMCC)
- Mr. VP Raja, Former Chairman, MERC
- Dr. VK Garg, Former Chairman, JERC-Goa & Uts
- Mr. V Subramanian, Former Secretary, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy
- Mr. G Parthasarathy, Former High Commissioner of India to Pakistan, Australia & Cyprus