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Coal and finance the two major challenges facing power sector: R K Singh

R Krishna Das/Raipur 13 Feb 19 | 07:36 PM

R K Singh

Union Minister for Power R K Singh said that the power sector in the country has been facing two major challenges -- availability of coal and finance for the new projects.

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“New power plants are facing problem of finance and initiatives have to be taken for (boosting) bank lending," Singh said, while inaugurating Indian Power Stations 2019, a two-day international operations and maintenance conference organised annually by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC). Coal production in the country should also increase to meet shortages, the minister added.

The minister indicated that demand for power, which is already increasing, will continue to rise in the near future. The current consumption of 1,200 units per capita is expected to grow 2-3 times to come at par with international consumption, after each and every individual of the country has access to electricity, Singh said.

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He suggested measures like pre-payment for consumption of electricity from both Discoms and end consumers, privatising distribution companies to make the process more market oriented. He later told reporters that smart electricity meters would be installed in each house across the country over the next three years.

On the issue of safety, Singh asserted that scheduled maintenance of power plants should not be postponed, and that power demand dictate the running of plants that needed maintenance shutdown. He added that with initiatives being undertaken by the government to augment power generation and distribution, like the Saubhagya Scheme and flexibility of power, the government’s directive to fulfil 40 per cent of power requirements through non-fossil fuels by 2030 is on track.

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The government has already commissioned 98 Gw of the 175 GW energy target in the renewable sector. At the same time, there has also been an emergence in the need for companies to focus on safety, environment sustainability, reliability and efficiency, he said. 

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