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Industry News

India Instates New Energy Law to Encourage Business

LCG, May 6, 2003Indian legislators enacted a new energy law with the intent of creating more competition and efficiency in an otherwise disorganized and insufficient electricity system.

A significant amount of Indias 100,000 megawatts of capacity is lost to missing or broken lines and theft. Additionally, some energy use is not metered, and state mechanisms to collect are slow and charge much less than the cost of production and service. Often, those government institutions responsible for service also are without the means to invest in improvements.

Indian officials intend to limit subsidies and open the market to increased private investment. The electricity market has been officially open since 1991, but stagnant, state-mandated prices and distribution made the market difficult to enter. Also, electricity infrastructure is fraught with complicated politics having little to do with efficiency or good service.

The newly instated law allows plants to sell electricity to industry directly and allows for leveled prices of electricity. In prior years, businesses paid significantly more for electricity than farmers. Also according to the new law, state utilities will receive monetary incentives for regular bill collection, and utilities will be allowed to buy electricity from any generator. All customers will be subject to meters.

Much of India suffers from brownouts and blackouts as electricity development has not kept up with economic growth. India gets nearly 80 percent of its electricity from coal and gas-fired plants, almost 18 percent from hydroelectric plants, and just over 2 percent from nuclear plants.

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