Nothing wrong in audit of power distribution companies, he says
Minister of State for Power Jyotiraditya Scindia on Thursday came out in support of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s order that the Comptroller and Auditor General audit private power distribution companies in Delhi. Mr. Scindia said there was nothing wrong with the exercise.
“If there is nothing to hide, one should always be open to audit and let the enquiry happen. Let the truth come out,” he said at a press conference when asked whether the government’s move would dampen investor sentiment in the power distribution sector.
Mr. Scindia said the government had to bear the burden of subsidies in the power sector. No one should question the right of a government to grant subsidies to any sector. “It is the State government’s prerogative to grant subsidies to any or certain group of customers on electricity tariff. At the same time, discoms should stay revenue neutral,” he said.
The Minister said the biggest challenge for the government was to strategise ways to meet the power demand of 4,000,00 MW by 2022. At present, the installed capacity was 2,36,000 MW and 1,60,000 MW of it came from non-renewable fossil fuels such as coal supplies, which were dwindling. The focus would now be on renewable sources of energy such as hydroelectric power, wind, solar and atomic energy. New technologies that drew thermal efficiency from fossil fuels such as coal would be adopted, he said. The Power Ministry had outlined a capex of Rs.6,500 crore for ushering in new technologies in the generation sector and transmission and distribution segments, he said.
On mega projects, Mr. Scindia said the final price bids for two ultra mega power projects of 4,000 MW each in Odisha and Tamil Nadu would open on February 26. The projects would be awarded to successful bidders. All nine applicants for the project in Odisha and eight applicants for the Cheyyur project (Tamil Nadu), who have applied for Request for Qualification, have been shortlisted for issuance of Request for Proposal for the final price bids.
The pit-head power project in Odisha is expected to cost Rs.25,000 crore. It will be based on domestic coal to be sourced from allocated captive coal blocks. The coastal power project in Cheyyur, expected to cost Rs.24,200 crore, will be based on imported coal.