Power Sector Needs Bold & Strong Business-Conducive Consumer-Friendly Reforms: Pradeep Mehta

He opined that there is no one size-fits-all framework; thus, the reforms should be tailored according to the local needs and challenges.

November 27, 2020. By Manu Tayal

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While delivering the welcome remarks at a webinar organised by CUTS International and Bask Research Foundation titled ‘Transforming Power Distribution: Consumers, Governance & Technology’, Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS emphasized that the power sector reforms must be shaped by the political and socio-economic context of individual States.

He opined that there is no one size-fits-all framework; thus, the reforms should be tailored according to the local needs and challenges.

The webinar was organized as the closing event for the project titled ‘Capacity Building of Electricity Consumers in Rajasthan’ implemented by CUTS International and Bask Research Foundation with support from Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation.

Anshu Bharadwaj, CEO, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, highlighted that the clean energy technologies has brought about a new paradigm for the power sector, which requires the utilities and policy-makers to re-work their approach towards this sector.

Arvind Mayaram, Economic Advisor to Chief Minister and Vice-Chairman, CM’s Rajasthan Economic Transformation Advisory Council, delivered the keynote address wherein he reflected that the biggest grievance of a consumer is the lack of adequate and quality power. Hence, it is important to empower the consumers and make them aware about their rights and responsibilities.

Anshuman Gothwal, Executive Director, Bask Research Foundation, delivered a presentation on key findings of the survey conducted in select districts of Rajasthan, as part of the project.

Following this, a panel discussion was conducted that was moderated by Simran Grover, CEO, Bask Research Foundation, and saw the participation of Geeta Gouri, Former Member, Competition Commission of India, who stressed the need for putting consumers at the center of the reforms in the power sector. She also put forth the idea of consumer forums that can help guide the consumers in settling their grievances.

Anoop Singh, Professor, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, highlighted that the reforms should be more targeted towards optimising the governance at the discoms level, rather than changing the governance at the sectoral level.

Rahul Tongia, Senior Fellow, Centre for Social and Economic Progress, underlined the need for looking at the new technological changes from the lenses of consumers and ‘prosumers’, instead of enhancing the operational efficiency.

G. Ganesh Das, Head – Collaborations, Innovations and R&D, TATA Power DDL, pointed out that the consumer behaviour depends on the maturity level of their respective discoms. He further remarked that, going forward, consumers and discoms should work together for the improvement of the sector.

Summarising this enriching and insightful discussion, Aman Raj, Research Associate, CUTS International, highlighted the need for a balanced approach, between different interests group, in enabling a just transformation in the Indian power distribution sector.

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