The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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PM asks industry to squeeze power bills

New Delhi, Aug. 23: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today urged all government organisations and the private sector to reduce energy consumption by 30 per cent and 20 per cent respectively over the next five years.

Inaugurating an international conference on strategies for energy conservation here today, Vajpayee asked the power ministry to assist other ministries, in particular the central public works department, to implement energy conservation programmes and capacity building.

He also asked the finance ministry to facilitate viable lending by financial institutions to energy service companies to implement this programme.

Vajpayee today released an action plan prepared by the nodal body, under the power ministry’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency. The action plan provides a 10-point strategy for demand side management (DSM) which includes setting up DSM cells in electric utilities in at least five states by next month and capacity building of DSM cell staff by December-end.

It involves preparation of investment grade feasibility reports for the implementation of DSM projects by April 2003 and capacity building of electric utility regulators by February next.

Expressing confidence that farmers would respond positively to the national endeavour for energy conservation, Vajpayee said the agriculture sector was a major user of energy with a large potential for savings.

The Prime Minister went on to say “with acceleration of power sector reforms, termination of the administered pricing mechanism for the petroleum sector and inevitable reduction of energy subsidies, our farmers will gain enormous benefits from energy conservation”.

Stressing the fact that India’s cost-effective energy conservation potential has been estimated by the Planning Commission at 23 per cent of total commercial energy generated, Vajpayee said the national movement for energy conservation could significantly reduce the need for fresh investments in energy supply systems in the coming years.

It is imperative that “we make all out efforts to realise this potential,” Vajpayee said, pointing out that the peak and base load shortages in the power sector were only 8 per cent and 13 per cent respectively. Listing the measures taken by the government, the Prime Minister said it included enactment of the Energy Conservation Act, which not only will promote competition and promote stake holders but also encourage a transparent self-regulatory system.

Vajpayee said that as a first step, President APJ Abdul Kalam has agreed to an energy audit of Rashtrapati Bhawan. Similar audits will be carried out at North and South Blocks.

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