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10 questions

TT: A lot of fears are being aired over offloading power supply-distribution jobs to private firms.

Singh: On the contrary, the entry of private sector firms will help consumers by way of reliable and quality supply, quick redress of problems, better services and increased consumer satisfaction. Right now, changing a burnt out transformer takes days, if not weeks

During your tenure, state-run JSEB and private firm Jusco got rights to supply power in Seraikela-Kharsawan. That system worked, didn’t it?

Exactly. There should be no problem if private firms take over billing, bill collection, maintenance of transmission lines, etc

How can the state gain?

Power thefts can be curbed by private players who would be under pressure to account for every unit

But state energy minister doesn’t perhaps feel private players CESC and Tata Power are good choices?

I shouldn’t comment

Power unions say agreements with CESC and Tata Power should be scrapped because terms and conditions have been modified to suit the duo.

The state can ask the office of the accountant-general in Ranchi to conduct an audit of agreements inked

How will it help?

Based on an audit, remedial actions can be initiated

Will private players ensure hike in power tariff?

As distributors, private players can’t raise rates. They are only sub-contractors of power producers

How are tariffs fixed?

Power producers based in Jharkhand file their tariff petitions with Jharkhand State Electricity Regulatory Commission. The panel examines them, seeks clarifications, conducts public hearing and then proceeds to fix tariffs

But, can franchisees also file tariff petitions and demand a hike in power tariffs?

No. The regulatory commission does not recognise franchisees. It deals only with power producers based in the state

Do you feel private players should be allowed to distribute power?

Personally, I don’t see any harm in it

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