• CAG finds energy savings worth Rs 570 cr lost to delay

    With summer not so far away and another power crisis looming large on Karnataka, Niranthara Jyothi Yojana (NJP), an ambitious project to provide 24/7 power for domestic users, remains a pipe dream thanks to deficient planning, inadequate funding and design flaws in transformers leading to a delay in implementation.

    The 2016 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, which found several drawbacks in implementation of the project conceived in 2009-10, says: “Planned to be completed by 2012, it is lingering for the last three years with 543 of the 1,748 feeders yet to be completed, resulting in loss of energy savings of 1,128.70 MUs valued at Rs 569.63 crore.”

    The report points out that the implementation was affected “owing to delays in finalisation of tenders, delays by contractors, delays in completion of load bifurcation works and instances of clubbing of NJY feeders with non-NJY feeders.”

    Before it was conceived, power supply to both agricultural (IP set) users and non-agricultural (domestic lighting, commercial supply, et al) was through a common 11-kV feeder (rural/mixed feeder). Electricity companies (Escoms), as they still do in many districts, provided a three-phase power supply for a limited number of hours (about 10 hours) and single phase for a few more hours (about 4 hours) with power cuts for the remaining hours (about 10 hours) in a day.

    The project was to segregate agricultural load and non-agricultural load by bifurcation of feeders (11 kV) at the sub-stations. This was to be achieved by drawing a new independent line (11kV) feeder, called a NJY feeder and shifting the non-agricultural load to this feeder.

    Design flaws; T&D losses

    The CAG noted that the Special Design Transformer (SDT) intended to provide power to farmhouses on agricultural feeders “had design deficiencies due to failure to include overload protection.”

    Two major objectives — reduction in interruption of power supply and reduction of losses — weren’t met.

    “ESCOMs were able to provide about 20 hours of three-phase power supply to NJY feeders, but the quality of power supply had not improved with the interruptions continuing unabated,” the audit revealed, adding that 40% of test check feeders showed an adverse trend in transmission and distribution losses.

    “Though there was increase in number of hours of supply of three phase from 10 hours (pre-NJY) to 20 hours (post-NJY), the increased hours of supply was partly owing to increased purchase of power, which was necessitated as the envisaged reduction of distribution losses did not materialise,” the audit points out. Jakub Voracek Jersey

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