Pargal, Sheoli

South Asia Sustainable Development
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Infrastructure economics; infrastructure regulation; energy policy; public-private partnerships; India; Bangladesh
South Asia Sustainable Development
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Sheoli Pargal is an Economic Adviser in the World Bank’s department for Sustainable Development for South Asia.  She has worked across infrastructure sectors on a range of topics including regulation and governance, private sector participation, public-private partnerships, and industrial pollution, with a focus on analytical and technical advisory work.  In twenty years at the World Bank she has had assignments in the research department; Latin America, Eastern Europe and South Asia; and corporate policy and operations units. She has also worked in the Planning Commission in India. Ms. Pargal has a Ph.D in Economics from Northwestern University and B.A. and M.A. degrees in economics from St. Stephen’s College and the Delhi School of Economics at Delhi University.

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
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    More Power to India : The Challenge of Electricity Distribution
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2014-06-18) Pargal, Sheoli ; Banerjee, Sudeshna Ghosh
    This report assesses progress in implementing the government of India's power sector reform agenda and examines the performance of the sector along different dimensions. India has emphasized that an efficient, resilient, and financially robust power sector is essential for growth and poverty reduction. Almost all investment-climate surveys point to poor availability and quality of power as critical constraints to commercial and manufacturing activity and national competitiveness. Further, more than 300 million Indians live without electricity, and those with power must cope with unreliable supply, pointing to huge unsatisfied demand and restricted consumer welfare. This report reviews the evolution of the Indian power sector since the landmark Electricity Act of 2003, with a focus on distribution as key to the performance and viability of the sector. While all three segments of the power sector (generation, transmission, and distribution) are important, revenues originate with the customer at distribution, so subpar performance there hurts the entire value chain. Persistent operational and financial shortcomings in distribution have repeatedly led to central bailouts for the whole sector, even though power is a concurrent subject under the Indian constitution and distribution is almost entirely under state control. Ominously, the recent sharp increase in private investment and market borrowing means power sector difficulties are more likely to spill over to lenders and affect the broader financial sector. Government-initiated reform efforts first focused on the generation and transmission segments, reflecting the urgent need for adding capacity and evacuating it and the complexity of issues to be addressed at the consumer interface. Consequently, distribution improvements have lagged, but it is now clear that they need to be a priority. This report thus analyzes the multiple sources of weakness in distribution and identifies the key challenges to improving performance in the short and medium term. The report is aimed at policy makers and government officials, academics, and civil society in the fields of energy, governance, and infrastructure economics and finance, as well as private investors and lenders in the energy arena.
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    Governance of Indian State Power Utilities : An Ongoing Journey
    (Washington, DC: World Bank Group, 2014-09-25) Pargal, Sheoli ; Mayer, Kristy
    By the late 1990s, the technical and financial performance of the power sector in India had deteriorated to the point where the Government of India had to step in to bail out the state utilities, almost all of which were vertically integrated state electricity boards (SEBs). Considering that the dismal performance of state utilities reflected internal and external shortfalls in governance, the new Electricity Act of 2003 (EA 2003) mandated the unbundling and corporatization of the SEBs, along with the establishment of independent regulators. This was expected to bring about a more accountable and commercial performance culture, with concomitant results in improved utility performance. The rest of this review is organized as follows. Chapter two summarizes the institutional context and relevant developments over the past two decades. Chapter three focuses on the corporate governance agenda adopted by the government and its implementation, specifically relating to the structure and functioning of utility boards of directors. Chapter four reviews SERC regulatory governance. Chapter five analyzes the correlation between key indicators of the quality of regulatory and corporate governance and utility financial performance. And chapter six concludes.
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    Economy-Wide Impact of Electricity Price Increases in Bangladesh: A CGE Analysis
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-11) Timilsna, Govinda ; Pargal, Sheoli ; Tsigas, Marinos ; Sahin, Sebnem
    This paper presents an analysis of the economic impact of electricity price increases in Bangladesh. A computable general equilibrium (CGE) model is developed and used to trace through the impact of an increase in the price of electricity on GDP, household consumption, economy-wide investment, government income, the trade balance, inflation, and sectoral outputs and prices. The primary motivation for this analysis is the need to understand the impact of adjusting the price of electricity to reduce the significant fiscal burden of current budget transfers to the single buyer of wholesale power – de facto subsidies to the end-consumer. Another impetus is the fact that the impending import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) will result in a more expensive fuel mix for power generation, which will lead to a need to increase the price of electricity supplied to consumers. Both channels impacting the price of electricity are modeled and their impacts analyzed. The model takes into account the fact that a reduction in subsidies to the sector or an increase in the price of electricity will augment government revenues, which can be recycled towards productive ends. The value of the model lies in the indicative results, insights and options it provides for decision-makers to take into account in their planning andpolicy formulation. Going forward, it would be important to carry out a supplementary distributional analysis to understand the implications for the poor and thus the full potential impact of the policy changes being analyzed.
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    Lighting the Way: Achievements, Opportunities, and Challenges in Bangladesh's Power Sector
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-12) Pargal, Sheoli
    The report surveys the challenges facing Bangladesh's power sector today and makes recommendations for consideration by national policy makers. Its starting point is the Government's goal of universal access to electricity by 2021, when Bangladesh completes 50 years of independence. Bangladesh can justly be proud of its progress in providing power to its people over the past decade. Generation capacity has steadily grown from 5.5 GW in 2009 to more than 13 GW in 2017—an increase of 140 percent. Starting from levels of access to electricity below 50 percent, today access is around 80 percent, with a globally recognized off-grid rural Solar Home System (SHS) program contributing almost 14 percent of that total. Sector performance is better than that of larger countries in the South Asia Region on key dimensions—distribution and transmission losses (together around 14 percent) and collection efficiency (above 90 percent). Bangladesh was an early mover in initiating private power generation in the late 1990s. The independent power producer (IPP) contracts awarded at that time through a transparent competitive process brought it what remains even today some of the lowest cost power in South Asia. Power imports from India commenced in 2013 and are set to grow—they are a critical element of the Government's strategy to supplement domestic generation with other sources of supply. The country has also demonstrated impressive mobilization and institutional capacity in selected agencies, which it can leverage in its quest to rapidly achieve middle-income status.