No pay, no power! To deal with the issue of non-payment in the power sector, Union minister RK Singh recently said that power consumers would have to pay first to get power supplies. He also made it clear that states across India can offer free power to certain sections of the society. However, the states would have to pay for it from their own budget, he said. According to a PTI report, while addressing the 20th Annual Day of PTC India, Singh said that there is no such thing as free power and one cannot produce power without an investment. The power has a cost and somebody has to pay for it, the minister said. While speaking on issues of non-payment, one of the major reasons for the stress in the power sector, he said that in many states, there is a disconnect between sustainability and immediate political considerations.
According to the minister, states are unwilling to recover the price of power for political gains. But a system like that is not sustainable, he said. This also shows that steps have not been taken by the central government to ensure that sustainability come to fore. The minister is of the view that states cannot have a system whereby they distribute free power and do not collect the price of the power. He further stressed that the basic requirement of sustainability of the power sector is, making a connection between payment and delivery.
While speaking about coal availability, the minister said that the power generator would get coal without bothering about power purchase agreement. He also said that anyone should be free to set up a power generating unit and get coal. In the current system, to get coal linkage, power generators must have long term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with discoms. Due to this, there is stress in the power sector. In the absence of coal, a large number of operational power plants starved for the dry fuel, the report said.