India will give Batman a run for his dollars. Our dark nights hit 600 million people in one single day, which no Hollywood blockbuster can ever beat. Which modern nation in circa 2012 will suffer a 48-hour blackout affecting more than half of its population, after two decades of reforms in the power sector?
So, what's wrong with the power sector? The sector has seen the extraordinary Electricity Act of 2003, significant private capital finding its way to it, open access - at least in theory - unbundling of utilities, restructuring of the debt of distribution companies (discoms) and reduction in transmission and distribution losses. Yet, it is in hardly a sanguine state with capacity addition trailing way behind targets every single year and grid collapses of such a large scale happening.
There are numerous pending reforms in power that will ensure that private capital doesn't run away from it. These are restructuring the discoms, periodic small tariff increases, fuel supply reform, upgrading grid evacuation infrastructure, investment in transmission, distribution privatisation and so on.