Give consumers freedom to pick electricity supplier: Haldea

August 8th, 2008 - 7:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 8 (IANS) Consumers should have the freedom to pick their own supplier of electrical power, a top government official said here Friday. “The country should focus on open access in electricity so that citizens can choose between competing power providers,” said Gajendra Haldea, principal advisor (infrastructure) to the Planning Commission, the organisation that formulates and oversees India’s economic planning activities.

“Open access system has proved to be very successful in the telecom sector. All the companies in that sector are doing very good business. Then, why not in the power sector?” he asked on the sidelines of Eastern Infra Con 2008, a conference on infrastructure development organised by local industry lobby Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Giving the example of London, he said there are 12 power suppliers in that city and the citizens have the freedom to pick up any according to their choice.

The Electricity Act 2003, which was introduced for a complete power sector reform has been partially implemented by the states so far, he said.

The Act covers major issues involving generation, distribution, transmission and trading in power.

While speaking about infrastructure development through public-private partnership (PPP) projects, he said: “Private investments in public projects are for public good.”

He further said: “A private project is completed in almost half the time than what is required by a PPP project.”

By 2012, some 46,000 km of highways would be built across India at a cost of $59 billion (Rs.2.5 trillion). Of this, 21,036 km will be constructed through the PPP model and that proves the importance of the model, he said.

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