New power policy awaits cabinet approval

Hyderabad: The union power ministry is awaiting cabinet approval to announce the new power policy to outline the country''s power sector strategy.

At a press conference on Sunday, the union power minister, P M Sayeed, and the union power secretary, R V Shahi, said the draft national policy, prepared in consultation with state governments and conforming to the national common minimum programme, would be notified shortly after cabinet approval. This policy would be followed with a new tariff policy.

The ''central electricity regulatory commission'' had issued guidelines for implementing open access in transmission in January 2004, which led to three states announcing the open access regime. However, the new policy framework, which follows the Electricity Act, 2003, would come up with a broad framework for the power sector, including private sector participation.

While the Electricity Act, 2003, has created a liberal and transparent framework for overall power sector development, several states have expressed difficulties in conforming to its provisions. To address their difficulties, 13 states have been given time ranging from four months to a year for reorganising their electricity boards. Consequently, they have time till June 2005 for separating trading of electricity from state transmission utilities.