The Federal Executive Committee of the Northern India Power Engineers Federation (NIPEF) have expressed concern over blatant privatisation of generation capacity addition in the country, which had "further crippled the capacity of the states to supply reliable and affordable electricity to the consumers".
Most of the states such as Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana were facing plenty of operational problems from private sector thermal plants due to one reason or the other, said NIPEF
The engineers argued that the states' share in power generation was steadily declining in many states, which was adversely affecting the state from flexibility in grid operations, thus raising the cost of power.
"The private sector thermal plants are run with the sole motive 'profit' that comes at the cost of consumers, whereas state-owned thermal projects can be scheduled as per state's need, depending on the demand.
The engineers stressed that 70-80% of the generation should be in the state/ central sector for optimum grid operation.
In Punjab, they said, the generation capacity addition under the state sector has been totally ignored for the last more than a decade and the state is facing lot of contractual problems from three private sector thermal plants.
"The execution of the 1,320MW Mukerian Thermal Project under the state sector is moving at a snail's pace despite availability of cheaper indigenous coal from our own captive coal mine for which Punjab will pay dearly in the years to come,"said NIPEF general secreatry Bhupinder Singh.
The engineers noted that the power sector was complex in nature, and therefore its utilities must be headed by technocrats for better performance. Further, to run the sector professionally in real terms, the professionals must be given fixed tenures to keep a check on the vested interests.
The engineers advised that the policy of shifting of meters and installing in pillar boxes has proven effective in reducing transmission losses in Punjab and should be replicated in Haryana, UP and Rajasthan.