Private Members' Business (Resolutions) & Special Mentions Rajya Sabha Budget Session - 232

SHRI DIGVIJAYA SINGH : The Power Minister is missing.

THE VICE-CHAIRMAN (SHRI V.P. SINGH BADNORE): He will come.Please Continue. Somebody on his behalf is noting down the points.

सर यदि आप देखेंगे तो पाएंगे कि पॉवर सेक्टर अपने आप में घाटे का सौदा है । जब भी ग्रिड में एक -एक उपलब्ध करवाया जाता है , तो उसमे प्रति यूनिट घाटा होता है । जितना जनरेशन कीजियेगा उतना ही घाटा बढ़ेगा । Unless and until you reduce theft in distribution, you will not be able to make power sector economically viable. A lot of efforts have been made to control theft in power sector at distribution point.

But, unfortunately, it has not succeeded. We have to use technology to reduce the theft. The technology is available now like the prepaid chips that you have in the telecom sector, we should have prepaid electronic meter chips at the distribution points, particularly amongst the consumers in the industrial sector and other sectors.

The second point I want make is that in our urge to electrify the largest number of villages, we are transmitting electricity at a very low voltage. The lower the voltage, the higher the transmission losses. In most of the developed countries, the transmission is never.below {KVA. But, in most of our rural sectors in India, we are transmitting power at 11 KVA resulting in much higher transmission losses. The Power Ministry must try to convert all these low transmission lines into higher transmission lines and have at each consumer level distribution point a step-down transformer so that the transmission losses are controlled and the distribution losses also 'be controlled.

On the energy audit at the distribution point, you should fix responsibility of the person who is in -charge of the distribution point. Most of the distribution companies are r~nning in losses, or are not being able to pay back the generating companies. Most of the State Electricity Boards owe huge sums to the generating companies. Most of the generating companies are becoming NPAs. Therefore, one of the major challenges in this country is to make the whole power sector economically viable. Until and unless you make this power sector economically viable, we shall always be power deficit.

Sir, I think, there are a number of old plants which are running at very low plant load factors. Modernisation of these plants will not need much of an investment and, therefore, they can be taken up at the State-level and at the NTPC-Ievel also. The usual age of a power plant is about 35-40 years. Therefore, modernisation schemes should be taken up by the NTPC and the State Electricity Boards on a priority basis.

-Sir, I think, availability of coal is a major problem. Unfortunately, most of our coal blocks which were allocated as per the Government policy of the NDA and the UPA landed themselves into the investigation by the CBI. Most of these coal blocks have to be unshackled; unshackled from the CBI, and unshackled from the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Until and unless you unshackle our coal resources, you will be importing high priced coal from outside raising the generating cost.

Gas is an important fuel for our power •sector. Unfortunately, a number of power plants came up with gas as a source for generation. But, then, the availability of gas is not there and thousands of crores of investment money has gone waste because of that.

Sir, I have always been a great votary of renewable sources of energy. I think the time has come, because of higher technology, every day, the solar energy prices are coming down. We should be looking at hybrid grids which can bring the wind energy, solar energy with our conventional energy so that through hybrid grids, we could economize our power generation. I have always felt, Sir, that one of the major energy resources, the biogas, somehow, has not been used to its full advantage. In the rural areas, if some amount of the subsidy that we are giving to the petroleum sector is channelized through the biogas in the rural sector, it can be one of the most decentralized forms of energy usage in the country. Every unit saved is energy generated. It should be made mandatory for these poople the builders to use innovative energy-saving devices in all the new buildinqs , CFL and LED bulbs now also throw up a great opportunity for energy saving. In most of the urban areas, Sir, the urban local bodies must look into this that all the street-lights should either be lit by using the CFL bulbs or be solar-powered.

Sir, the other thing which I wanted to say, Sir, was that ultimately power is absolutely essential for any country's development. This is an opportunity for the hon. Minister. I think, for the first time, in this country that the Power Minister also has the Coal Ministry. The end - user and the resource Minister is the same. This charge may have been given by the hon. Prime Minister for other reasons also, but 0 the fact remains that here is great opportunity before the Power Minister, being the end -user he also has in his authority the natural resource. Therefore, I say, Sir, this is a great opportunity for the hon. Minister to look into all the issues which my hon.. Member of Parliament, Dr. T. Subbarami Reddy, has raised, and, I strongly support his Resolution. Thank you, Sir.

Later in this session...

SHRI DIGVIJAYA SINGH: Sir, I have a small clarification. The hon. Minister has pointed out that there are some power plants which have come up without the PPA being signed and without any coal linkage. Would you please ask this from the bankers, who have financed these power plants without PPA and without coal linkages ?

SHRI PIYUSH GOYAL: Sir, it is a very good question and I am very happy that it has been put. Of course, all these power plants were financed in the last ten years, out of which, for four years, I was sitting on that side

MR. DEPUTY CHAIRMAN: So you have no contribution to that!

SHRI PIYUSH GOYAL: And the hon. Member was sitting on this side of , the House.

SHRI DIGVIJAYA SINGH: I was neither here nor there but I was outside. But the fact remains that he has made a very conflicting remark and a very confusing remark that power plants have come up, duly financed by banks, without a PPA being signed and without a coal linkage. He must verify that.

SHRI PIYUSH GOYAL: Sir, many of these power plants have also come up on the back of coal block allocations which have been found to be irregular by the hon. CAG, and many of them have got into trouble because the process, which was followed by the erstwhile Government, caused agony tothe entire coal sector and which .the. nation is suffering from today. I think . .it will be very interesting if the hon. Member would reflect whether it was the right method of giving coal blocks and making private sector and Government set up power plants on the back of these irregular allotments.

It may also be very interesting to see whether there was any pressure from the then Government to those bankers to give those loans. It will be a matter of investigation. I will be delighted to have an investigation done on that.


SHRI PIYUSH GOYAL: But I am not sure whether the hon. Member will be very happy with the findings of that. Sir, many of the Members have talked about solar and wind energy. can assure you that my hon. Prime Minister and the nation's Prime Minister,.Shri Narendra Modi, is, personally, very committed and that commitment reflects on the fact that out of 2,700 MW of solar, today one-third is in the State of Gujarat alone. I am very confident that under his able leadership, we shall be able to significantly increase the solar and wind generation. I also want to state that while the earlier thinking on renewable energy was one based on subsidy, this Government is finding out solutions to take the regime of subsidy out of renewable energy and make it stand on its own.feet.