India needs to go toward market pricing for power: GE chief

New Delhi, Sep 21 (IANS) American infrastructure giant General Electric (GE) on Monday said the level of state subsidy of the country’s power sector has to go for the company to play a meaningful role in it.

“GE is big in electricity. However, there has to be less subsidisation of power in India. Moving towards market prices, will allow more reinvestment by companies in the power sector,” company chairman Jeff Immelt, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, told reporters.

“The government has the laudable targhet of providing 24×7 power to all. Distribution entities, however, are having trouble paying for electricity, which hampers reinvestment in power,” he said.

The GE chief said that a “market-mechanism” is required to reach the target of power for all.

“Selling electricity below cost won’t allow for the reinvestment in power generation. That’s happening in India,” he said.

“If tariffs don’t change, you won’t get reinvestment in the sector,” Immelt stressed.

In this connection, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in Hong Kong on Sunday that some states were not charging adequate tariff for electricity as a result of which the health of power distribution companies (discoms) is being affected. There was surplus power last year because many discoms are unable to afford purchasing it, he said.

Speaking about financially distressed state electricity boards, state-run generator NTPC chairman A.K.Jha told reporters here on Monday that the situation could not be normalised without market pricing.

He said the generator’s plant load actor (PLF), which is the ratio between the actual energy generated and its capacity, could only be improved if demand increased.

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