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Is privatisation a solution?

india Updated: Oct 19, 2011 01:03 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja

With no immediate respite from 15-18 hours of power cuts daily, residents hope that privatisation will bring efficiency and enhance power supply in the city.

The issue of bringing in private players has been hanging fire since 2009 when the state government had announced introduction of a franchisee model for electricity distribution in Gurgaon and Panipat as a pilot project. However, pressure from political parties and trade unions played the spoilsport, said senior officials.

Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) director MB Vashishth said the issue of privatisation or franchisee model was always on the state government’s agenda and efforts were being made to bring a consensus among employees as residents and industrial associations have already accorded their approval.

At present, the DHBVN is the sole power distributor here. And, it has failed to keep consumers happy so far.

The DHBVN was formed under the Companies Act in 1999 as an offshoot of the Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam (HVPN). With the aim to professionalise the power sector in the state and deliver better services to consumers, the Haryana government had quashed Haryana State Electricity Board (HSEB) in 1998 to form HVPN.

Anup Mishra, a resident of Sushant Lok for more than 10 years, said, “I do not understand why we are forced to buy electricity from DHBVN. People should be allowed to decide between at least two electricity suppliers. Even Delhi has the BSES and Rajdhani.”

In 2004, DLF Estate Developers Limited (DEDL) applied for a power distribution license with the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) for DLF City. However, discoms opposed the proposal contending the company might get a monopoly.

The apex residents' welfare association in DLF City — DLF Qutub Enclave RWA (QERWA) — had also accorded conditional support for the proposal to strengthen power distribution and build a safeguard against autocratic hikes in tariff. RS Rathee, the then QERWA president, said, “We welcome the proposal of private players supplying power to DLF City provided the HERC regulates tariffs and keep it at par with DHBVN rates. We would expect that private firm would upgrade the distribution system which is very poor in DLF City.”