Ushering in third-generation electricity reforms with an innovative market design that promotes competition while creating value for investments can address some of the issues in the sector,” comments Mukesh Khullar, member, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC). This would help address key issues relating to non-uniform tariffs across consumer categories, distribution losses, coal supply constraints, peak load management, quality of power supply and the financial health of power utilities.
A 1985 batch IAS officer of the Maharashtra cadre, Khullar has 33 years of experience working with the local, state and central governments. Prior to his current role, he was additional chief secretary (personnel). In the past, he has served as principal secretary, energy, Maharashtra government. His current role entails the development of the state’s power sector by bringing out regulations to ensure a level playing field for public and private sector utilities, adjudication of disputes, tariff determination, etc. On the roadmap ahead, he says: “By April 2020, we want to completely align our regulatory framework with that of the central commission and with global best practices. We want to ensure disposal of cases for adjudication within a month of registration. Similarly, the process for tariff determination would be strictly within the time limit. We have undertaken a scientific study to estimate agricultural consumption and we hope to channelise its results in our tariff regime from 2020.”
Khullar notes that the sector is passing through tough times with stressed thermal plants eroding lender confidence. Distributed generation through solar rooftops and falling renewable prices are challenging long-term PPAs. Khullar’s most challenging role was as managing director, Maharashtra State Cooperative Tribal Development Corporation, and his most satisfying tenure was as mission director, National Food Security Mission, which had an impact in widening India’s food basket.
Khullar is a science and law graduate from Delhi University, and an MBA in public services from the University of Birmingham, UK. Khullar likes spending his spare time with his family and contributing to household chores. His family includes his wife, Meenakshi, a homemaker, and their daughter, who is pursuing medicine. Khullar enjoys listening to music, reading offbeat books, and listening to podcasts on technology, money markets and new transformative ideas.