India’s electricity grid’s most complex and perhaps most critical layer is the distribution companies (Discoms) that retail electricity to consumers. They have historically faced numerous challenges of high losses, both financial and operational. COVID-19 has imposed new challenges on the entire sector, but Discoms are the lynchpin of the system.
In a panel discussion with experts and former leads of aspects of Discoms, policy, and regulation, we examine what can, might, or should happen going forward, across both the short-run (during the lockdown and immediate recovery), and as we reach a new equilibrium.
Some challenges may be new, but others may be exacerbations of existing or underlying issues. We will discuss topics such as:
1) Cash flows, delays, and force majeure across the electricity chain
2) The social contract of social welfare redistribution – today based on overpayment by commercial and industrial consumers
3) Expected changes in the system trajectory including demand across consumers, supply shifts (spanning coal, Renewable Energy, etc.), and pricing.
The panelists are:
1) Gireesh Pradhan, former Chairman, CERC, and former Secretary, MNRE
2) Subhash C. Garg, former Finance Secretary and former Secretary, Min. of Power
3) Arun. K. Verma, former Jt. Secretary (distribution), Min. of Power
4) Rahul Tongia, Fellow, Brookings India (moderator)
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