South Asia Sustainable Development
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Fields of Specialization
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 - 6 of 6
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2014-06-18) Pargal, Sheoli ; Banerjee, Sudeshna GhoshThis 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.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank Group, 2014-09-25) Pargal, Sheoli ; Mayer, KristyBy 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.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-11) Timilsna, Govinda ; Pargal, Sheoli ; Tsigas, Marinos ; Sahin, SebnemThis 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.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-12) Pargal, SheoliThe 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.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017) Hossain, Ijaz ; Sarkar, Ashok ; Pargal, SheoliEnhancement of energy efficiency (EE) can help bridge the gap between supply and demand for energy. This paper assesses the energy efficiency and conservation (EE and C) potential of sixteen EE end-use technologies and subsectors (for both primary energy (oil, gas and coal) and electricity) in Bangladesh vis a vis “business-as-usual”. Further, it prioritizes among them on the bases of their potential for generating energy savings, their costs, and the benefits of deployment on a large scale. The end-use EE improvement technologies/measures analyzed range from lights, fans, and refrigerators to motors, boilers, and chillers. Sectors covered include garments, textile dyeing and weaving, steel and cement. They were chosen for analysis because they represent the most promising prospective candidates for demand side energy efficiency improvement in the country. The analysis indicates that a total of 400 petajoule (PJ) can be saved in the year 2030 when the projected total primary energy requirement is likely to be approximately 2800 PJ, i.e., a savings of 14.3 percent of the total primary energy requirement in 2030 can be achieved by implementing EE measures alone. A back-of-the-envelope calculation of the relative cost effectiveness of the different options analyzed provides a measure of the costs and benefits of these EE options. Despite domestic electricity and gas prices being fairly low in comparison with international market prices, the cost of saved energy for most options is either low or negative: in other words, these EE investments have a favorable rate of return and should be a key part of energy sector development in Bangladesh. Higher electricity or gas prices would increase the cost-effectiveness of all options because the monetized value of energy saved would be higher.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-12) Timilsina, Govinda R. ; Pargal, Sheoli ; Tsigas, Marinos ; Sahin, SebnemAs in many countries around the world, subsidies to energy in Bangladesh impose a significant fiscal burden, with benefits that disproportionately accrue to high-income households. Any reforms of energy subsidies should benefit the overall economy rather than those who use energy the most. Using a computable general equilibrium model, this study investigates the economywide impacts of the removal of direct subsidies in the electricity sector and indirect subsidies in natural gas in Bangladesh. The study finds that removal of energy subsidies would be beneficial to the economy and would increase gross domestic product. The magnitude of the economic impact depends on how the budgetary savings from the removal of the electricity subsidies and increased revenues due to the removal of indirect subsidies to natural gas are reallocated to the economy. Recycling the savings (or the new revenues) to fund investment would benefit the country most, followed by the case of utilizing them to fund cuts in income taxes, and finally to fund cuts in indirect taxes. Although the reallocation of budgetary savings to households through lump-sum transfers is found to be inferior to the other recycling options considered, it would be the preferred option from the distributional perspective.