IT is the Way Forward for Power Sector Reforms!

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The acess to electricity is the key to the economic development of a country. The power sector in India  has been receiving adequate priority ever since the process of planned development began in 1950s. Despite, India being the 5th largest power producer in the world, it still faces huge power deficit with peak power deficit of more than 10%. With a demand supply gap of 66 billion units and peak shortage of 16,000 MW, it is estimated that India needs to add nearly 80,000 MW of power generation capacity (to the existing 140,000 MW in 2007-08) by year 2012. The Government of India is facing hurdles as the current inter-regional (national grid) power transfer capacity is inadequate to facilitate efficient transfer of power from power surplus to power-deficit regions.

If we look at the dynamic global platform for inspiration, the US president Barack Obama seems to show the way forward. President Obama’s strategy to invest $11 billion to create smarter electrical grids is a progressive move which shows that in order for power sector to become viable and sustainable what is required is not only reforms but IT-oriented reforms. IT  has the potential to contribute significantly in the power reforms process, particularly in the areas of business process automation, revenue and commercial management, distribution system automation, consumer relationship management (CRM) and AT&C (Aggregate Technical and Commercial) loss reduction.

Indian government too sensing the hourly need has initiated reforms in power sector around two broad themes i.e., privatising the state-owned distribution utilities, and funding IT enabled measurement of the transmission and distribution losses and its reduction initiatives at utilities that continue to be state-owned. The Ministry of Power, Government of India initiated Power Sector reforms in the 1990s to invite private investments for setting up additional generating capacity to bridge the wide gap between demand and supply. The Government is implementing the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (RAPDRP) during the 11th Five Year Plan period. This is a USD 12 billion project aimed at IT-enabling India’s power distribution system.

The current issue is focussed on IT in Power Sector. We have put together the views from the Central and State Governments and the Private Sector on this topic. This issue of the magazine also carries the report of the National Convention on Public Safety, Security and Disaster Management and the Role of IT convened by egov in association with the Department of IT, Ministry of Communications and IT, Government of India. The Convention saw a right-mix of participants from the security sector representing both government and the private sector. Hope you enjoy reading this edition of the magazine.

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