• A promising start to Uday scheme with state discoms reducing commercial losses and interest costs

    State power distribution companies have sharply reduced commercial losses and interest costs, giving a promising start to Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s Uday scheme that aims to set right electricity distribution, the biggest bottleneck in the sector.

    The average power generation cost in the country has also come down by 13% to Rs 2.77 per unit in the three-month period ending June from Rs 3.19 per unit during April-June of 2015, a senior power ministry official said.

    Preliminary data available with states for the first quarter of the current financial year shows that most states have reported reduction in the aggregate technical and commercial losses, which include electricity that goes unbilled due to non-metering and pilferage. The commercial losses in Jharkhand have declined to 31.8% during the threemonth period from 41% before joining Uday, showed the provisional data available with the state.

    Uttar Pradesh that goes to polls next year has reported a fall in commercial loss to 33% in first quarter of the current financial year from the 34.2% in the corresponding period last year. The commercial losses in Rajasthan have decreased to 27.3% from 28.5%, while Punjab’s aggregate losses have fallen to 16.6% from 15.9%.

    The interest cost outgo of the state power distribution utilities has also reduced following takeover of debt by respective state governments. The interest burden of Uttar Pradesh power distribution companies has nearly halved to Rs 820 crore during April-June this year against Rs 1,742 crore in the corresponding quarter last fiscal. In Rajasthan, electricity distribution companies paid Rs 1,038 crore towards interest against Rs 1,961 crore in April-June quarter last financial year.Punjab posted Rs 166 crore savings and Haryana Rs 187 crore on interest outgo.

    These states joined Uday before March this year. At present, power distribution companies of 14 states are part of Uday. Puducherry will be the 15th state to join Uday and is likely to sign agreement next week.

    The provisional data has been provided by the states to the Union power ministry in review and monitoring meetings. The power ministry reviews progress of the Uday scheme in participating states in its monthly monitoring meetings.

    Besides, power minister Piyush Goyal has held an exclusive meeting to review its implementation while power secretary PK Pujari has taken four such meetings till date. The scheme is monitored at distribution companies’ level by their chairmen and at state level by chief secretaries or principal energy secretaries.

    The power ministry is putting in place a mobile application in two months to monitor the progress of Uday under 26 financial and operational parameters. The application will make data on progress in implementation of Uday in various states accessible to all.

    Uday aims at enabling discoms to turn profitable in the next 2-3 years through four initiatives —improving operational efficiencies, reducing cost of power, interest burden and enforcing financial discipline through alignment with state finances.

    The scheme mandates states to take measures like compulsory smart metering, upgrade of transformers and meters, promoting energy efficient LED bulbs, agricultural pumps, fans and air-conditioners to reduce commercial losses from 22% to 15% and decrease gap between cost of power and tariffs. Tyler Lockett Womens Jersey

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