Energy shortages in India have increased from about 7 per cent in 2003-04 to nearly 12 per cent in 2008-09, after nearly Rs 200,000 crores have been allotted to the power sector in annual plans covered in this period, says Leena Srivastava, Executive Director, TERI.
She also provides some hints what steps need to be taken by the government in order to improve this situation.
One idea she provides: “more attention needs to be paid to something as mundane as being able to forecast our electricity supply and demands more robustly. While India is struggling to estimate with confidence its likely capacity additions over a five-year plan period, the developed world is grappling with being able to make hourly and daily forecast of wind profiles for facilitating a greater share of clean energy forms.” Well, we might not be able to forecast as well as the developed nations, but let’s start giving it a try!
She gives a few other suggestions that will significantly improve the situation within the existing frameworks. And finally she ends with this: “In the case of the vexed problem of petroleum subsidies, the government benefited from the temporary relief provided by international oil prices. In the case of electricity shortages, there is no choice but to bite the bullet of reforms hard — not just in terms of setting up regulatory institutions but actually defining a vision for the power sector and delivering on performance.”
Yep indeed, if the government screws up on electricity, it can’t blame the sheiks or the OPEC or some indefined market forces, that’s for sure.