`Consult stake-holders before implementing power sector reforms'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM OCT. 26 . The Kerala State Electricity Board Officers' Association (KSEBOA) has asked the Government to hold deliberations with all stake-holders in the power sector before implementing the reforms stipulated in the Electricity Act, 2003, in the State.

In a memorandum to the Chief Minister, the KSEBOA said that such an exercise would help evolve a programme of action that would suit the best interests of the people of the State while carrying out the mandated reforms.

The Electricity Act, 2003, was enforced by the Union Government in all the States, except Jammu and Kashmir, with effect from June 10, 2003. The State Government had sought time till December 10, 2003 to put the Act into effect. The Act would make far-reaching changes in the power sector and could affect not only the common man, but also the entire economy of the State, the memorandum said.

The Act offered various options to the State Government on reorganising the KSEB. These included retaining the whole organisation as a single entity owned by the Government and unbundling it to partly or fully privatise the sector.

``The experience world over has shown that unbundling and the resultant disintegration, privatisation and market-driven policies in the sector can result in exponential increase in electricity tariff, unbearable strain on the State exchequer (to reduce tariff shocks through subsidies), severe shortage of electricity, increased interruption owing to neglect of the transmission sector, worsening of service to the rural and needy sections of society and the lose of social control over the sector'', the memorandum said.

Even the World Bank, once a big advocate of the reform model, had reported in its latest issue of the World Development Report that withdrawal of the Government from the power sector would have dangerous consequences. The World Bank had veered round to the view that this was not advisable.

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