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India's link to electricity

The president of IEEMA discusses the subcontinental market

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Murali Venkatraman, president of IEEMA.
Murali Venkatraman, president of IEEMA.

Murali Venkatraman, president of IEEMA, explains how the organisation has been consistently adding value to the budding Indian power sector.

The Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (IEEMA) - India’s apex chamber for the transmission and distribution industry, has played a catalytic role in strengthening the power infrastructure in the subcontinent over the last 61 years. Asia remains a robust region with governments pouring over US $600 billion in capital for its infrastructure improvement and development.

The Indian subcontinent has ample scope to cover everything from power transmission and distribution projects, HVDC technology to sustainable energy for her people – all embedded within a reasonably stable political and economic environment.

IEEMA, the representative of India’s manufacturers of electrical, professional electronics and allied equipment - with over 650 members - has a combined annual turnover of over $22 billion.

It represents more than 90% of all India’s production of electrical equipment - transmission lines, power/distribution transformer, switchgears, other substation equipment, conductors, cables and energy meters.

The changing face of the Indian sub continent
Unlike the recent decline in private investments into power production and distribution due to a slow pace of power sector reforms in CIS countries, the Central Asian power sector has been fuelled by different kind of energy.

This has triggered long-term opportunities for international power investors and greater investment returns in emerging markets. In India, especially over the past decade, the power sector reforms have progressed significantly.

Indian power dynamics
In the 1990s, IEEMA consistently worked towards de-regularisation of power enterprises, which were in most cases completely state-owned operations. The renewed focus gave due consideration to commercial principles and environmental impact.

We worked in close association with the government to regularise a plan concentrated mostly on reliable provision of power to industrial and residential consumers with due regard for cost recovery or energy conservation. The net effect has been policies resulting in low-energy intensity, high operational efficiency, and controlled losses in transmission and distribution systems.

The regulatory framework has been developed to facilitate the commercialisation of the power sector, tariffs have been increased to reflect the actual production cost, and payment discipline has improved.

What's the way forward?
India's ambitious 11th and 12th five-year-plans (FYPs) have projected a significant increase in the intra-country grid.

The electrical industry envisages a tremendous mindset change towards performance in the generation and T&D space to achieve these enormous targets – the total capacity addition during the past 25 years between the sixth and tenth FYPs was approximately 91,000MW.

A total capacity addition of 78,577MW is planned for the eleventh FYP (2007-12) which should result in substantial investments in the power generation sector.

This translates into a need for many power projects, coupled with supporting infrastructure for last-mile connectivity and efficient management of the market for electrical products. As a follow through, this will impose tremendous pressure on the utilities in terms of delivering efficient and sustainable service to the consumer.

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