• 24×7 power for all, a humongous but achievable feat: PwC

    Unrealistic power demand forecasting, lack of information on existing power assets, inadequate planning without systematic system studies, delays in approvals and competencies of electricity utility staff are some of the roadblocks that would heavily come in the way of government’s aim to provide power 24×7, a joint study by PwC and CII pointed out.

    The study, released on Saturday, says achieving the objective of ‘Round- the-clock power supply’ programme will not be an easy task. But improved fuel availability scenario, achieving target capacity additions well within time or even earlier, increasing investments, and aggressive bids for renewable energy projects are some of the encouraging trends that indicate that India can achieve this humongous feat in the near future.

    Nevertheless, concerns related to fund availability due to poor financial condition of utilities, lack of standard specifications and utility centric tender conditions have been haunting the sector. Other key concerns are usage of non-standard bid documents, delay in bid process management, lack of programme monitoring practices and tools, absence of field quality plan and lack of implementation.

    On the supervision front, issues pertaining to land acquisition and right of way remains, while performance of vendors and suppliers needs to be monitored.

    At present the Indian power sector is facing key challenges in the form of lower output from generation units and higher losses. As of May 2016, the national average plant capacity utilisation was 62.24%, which has significant scope for improvement.

    According to PwC, 24×7 power for all would require generation companies to develop an integrated policy at the company level to ensure coal security in the medium and long term, and at the same time minimise its landed cost. Owners of captive coal blocks also need to expedite development and operations of projects to ensure that they are on schedule. This would require setting up of effective project management systems and appointment of capable mine developer & operator for the optimum utilisation of resources.

    Additionally, inter-regional transmission network needs to be strengthened to tackle persisting corridor bottleneck and congestion issues. Adoption of efficient technologies and stringent qualification is one of the prerequisites to facilitate the participation of competent players.

    A realistic policy for the payment of reasonable compensation to ease out the problems of right of way for transmission companies will help in avoiding cost and time overruns of transmission projects. IT and new technologies implementation systems such as smart grid projects, internet of things will significantly improve the operational efficiency of the power system.

    PWC claims that effective programme management of government schemes like DDUGJY, IPDS and UDAY will be key to successful implementation of projects and achievement of the ‘Power for All’ programme objective.

    Institutional strengthening and capacity building of utilities shall be critical in order to reap the benefits of sector reform. Programme closure assessment will be helpful in devising a better plan for any future projects. Jim Otto Womens Jersey

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