Infrastructure sectors are capital intensive natural monopolies and government regulations assume greater importance in them. The purpose of regulator is to transfer the role of pure Government functioning to professional functioning. The regulations aim to encourage efficient, cost-effective, and reliable service provision while ensuring financial viability. The Electricity Act of 2003 is a path-breaking legislation enforced to transform the power sector in India. Maharashtra, one of the most-urbanized state in India, has a regulator in place since Aug 1999. Electricity consumption in Maharashtra has increased from 2720 MU in the year 1960-61 to 96,644MU in the year 2011-12! In this talk, the power systems operation in Maharashtra and India, and the reform of electricity sector since 1990 will be discussed. An overview of the Electricity Act 2003 will be presented. Promotion of renewable energy initiatives by MERC will be discussed. The initiatives taken by MERC in state level DSM programs will be described. The deregulation provisions in Electricity Act 2003 on open access, parallel distribution licensing, and distribution franchisee will be discussed. Finally, the need for ancillary services, energy storage systems in the Indian system, and smart grid initiatives at the National and State level will be mentioned.
Vijay Sonavane received his BE in Electrical Engineering from Pune University. He was awarded by Pune University for highest marks in power systems. He joined Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) in 1976. He has been associated with power system planning, energy control center, energy audit, 400KV planning, HVDC, tariff petition, corporate planning, and distribution projects. He served as the Executive Director (2005-07) and Director (Operations/Projects) (2007-09). He was appointed as Member (Technical) in MERC. He has been on various deputations. He has served as a guest faculty or guide/mentor for many scholars at various universities. He is currently also selected as the Honorary Member of Forum of Indian Regulators (FOIR) New Delhi. He is a Member of the Expert Committee set up by the USAID, India, for framing: Regulations for Smart Grid Projects in India.