Power utilities pitch for reform in coal, gas, rail

Mumbai, July 26 | Updated: Jul 27 2006, 05:30am hrs
Council of Power Utilities (CPU), an apex body of power utilities in India, have made a strong case for reforms in coal, gas and railways sector.

CPU emphasised the need for setting up an independent regulatory framework to look into the efficiency of operation of the coal sector and fixing of price including captive mining. It has appealed to the coal ministry to ensure speedy clearances to utilities seeking coal blocks in a specified time-frame and argued the utilities be given choice to select coal blocks.

For the gas sector, the council suggested that a regulatory framework was the need of the hour to ensure non-discriminatory access to gas sources and pipelines for power and other sectors. The regulatory framework is also crucial to promote market forces.

So far as coal sector was concerned, the council, in its recent presentation to the Centre, suggested that a transparent competitive process be introduced if more number of aspirants have expressed their desire for the same coal block.

Power utilities, which relies heavily on Coal India and its subsidiaries for coal linkages, have argued that power sector should be accorded the most favoured customer status of the railways. These utilities have strongly favoured rationalisation of railway tariff to make the pricing non-discriminatory.

Further, it suggested the Centre to form a hydrocarbon highway with oil companies to ensure right of use of gas pipeline on the lines of open access in the power sector. The council has called for the establishment of National Energy Council for taking up current issues faced by public utilities and provide solutions.