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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Power board split in four months

Ranchi, Feb. 7: Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB) today declared that it would be split into four independent companies within the next four months.

Its chairman S.N. Verma said the power utility had appointed Power Finance Corporation (PFC) as consultant “to take JSEB through the complex process of unbundling the board into separate utilities for generation, transmission and distribution”.

“PFC has already made several presentations in this regard. We are sending out a fresh SOS to the corporation asking it to make a presentation before us detailing the modalities to be followed so that the entire process is speeded up. We expect the unbundling of JSEB to be completed within the next three to four months,” Verma told The Telegraph.

According to plans, the board will be split into a holding company and three subsidiary firms for transmission, generation and distribution.

States are free to decide their own model for separating boards into new entities.

“While the state electricity board in neighbouring Bihar and Rajasthan have been split into five companies, one each for generation and transmission, and three for distribution, we have opted for four in case of JSEB,” Verma said.

The JSEB move comes after the Supreme Court, on February 5, directed the board and the state government to carry out the process of unbundling according to provisions specified in Sections 131-134 of the Electricity Act, 2003.

A division bench of the apex court comprising Justices P. Sathasivam and Jagdish Singh Khehar had said the mandate of the Act had to be implemented, asking the state to ensure the law’s provisions relating to unbundling were strictly followed.

The court, however, gave liberty to the JSEB’s co-ordination committee, a conglomerate of all power unions, to move Jharkhand High Court challenging the unbundling if they were not satisfied with the process adopted.

“A level playing field will be provided to all four new entities that will be carved out of JSEB. Each company will begin with zero liability, meaning existing liabilities of the present JSEB will not be transferred to any of the proposed new companies that will enable each entity to make a fresh start,” the JSEB chief stressed.