Power ministers' meet adds cyber security, digital payment to agenda

In a first, the quarterly Conference of Power, Renewable Energy and Mines, ministers of states and  union territories would dwell over concerns on cyber security and digital payments in its upcoming meeting. The move is in line with the BJP-led Centre government pushing for digitisation in several departments. The four ministries under Piyush Goyal, minister of state (independent charge) have been leading the way in digital monitoring with highest number of mobile apps.

“Power sector is identified as one of the sectors vulnerable to cyber attacks. Power sector has started deploying smart grid technologies, the operations in such groups are controlled by the software embedded in the hardware. The equipment installed at the power stations also needs to be tested,” said the agenda for the conference.

The power ministry at its end is also pushing the case of smart meters without any additional financial burden over the state owned power distribution companies. Along with it, digital payment in discoms is also being promoted.

“To encourage digital payments, Merchant Discount Rate (MDR)/ convenience fee charged by States/discoms on electricity bill to be subsumed in tariff structure and absolve the consumers from paying these charges,” said the agenda.

The conference which would happen on May3-4, 2017, in New Delhi would see the congregation of Central and State representatives would brainstorm on issues revolving around 100 per cent household electrification, new power tariff regime, energy conservation, reforms in the coal and mining sector, among others.

Besides taking updates on its flagship programs, the conference would also look into newer issues around tariff simplification, merit order dispatch, integration of renewable energy, ash management system and energy conservation in agriculture sector.

“The remaining un-electrified households are spread across the country in more than 5,00,000 villages and reaching all these villages, creating infrastructure and releasing connections to households in a time bound manner is a mammoth task,” said the agenda of the conference.

During the course of conference, scrutiny of the key programs of the government would also be done. These programs are for rural and urban electrification, UDAY discoms reforms program, growth of last mile transmission and distribution and coal supply rationalisation.


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