- By the first of August, I put in place a system by which the power gets dispatched only when a letter of credit is given
- I have already told my ministry that the objective is to utilise all the water in our share and whatever scheme needs to be set up to utilise our share of the water should be done
Raj Kumar Singh, India’s minister for power and new and renewable energy, wants to bring financial discipline to state electricity discoms. In an interview, the former home secretary and a 1975 batch Bihar cadre IAS officer spoke about linking funding under the Union government’s schemes to discoms’ performance, southern states cautioning the Centre of civil unrest because of mandatory letters of credit as part of the payment security mechanisms and his strategy of limiting state governments’ borrowing. A two-time Lok Sabha member of Parliament from Arrah in Bihar, Singh also spoke about expediting hydro power projects in Jammu & Kashmir to help India fully utilise its share of water under the Indus Waters Treaty and building projects totaling 17,000 MW in Arunachal Pradesh to pre-empt China’s plan to divert water from rivers that flow into the Brahmaputra. Edited excerpts:
Will there be a larger private sector involvement with the discoms?
That reform was envisaged in the law that was passed in 2003, where you have a number of suppliers in the business of providing electricity to the consumers, so that the consumer has a choice. Like you have a choice with your mobile. If I don’t like Airtel, I will switch to Vodafone. It is something that is still there in our minds and we intend to push it through. That means that the discom will continue and it will have the monopoly on the wire part of the business on the distribution system. So, the wheeling will be done by the discom. The supplier will buy the electricity in bulk.