• UDAY a success: India’s power distribution system shows clear signs of revival

    India’s power distribution system is showing concrete signs of revival and lower operational losses as chronically inefficient states have significantly narrowed the gap between cost and revenue, reduced unmetered supply and are planning large bond issues in 10 days.

    Officials say of the 16 states part of the Centre’s distribution utility revival scheme-—Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojna (UDAY) —at least eight have a lower gap between their average cost of electricity supply and average cost of realisation.

    According to one official, Uttar Pradesh distribution companies are set to launch state-government guarantee-backed bond issue worth Rs 5,000 crore starting October 6 to meet operational requirements.

    Rajasthan distribution utilities are also likely to raise working capital funds through bond issues in the next 10 days.

    Provisional data shows that the gap in Uttar Pradesh distribution utilities declined by over 65% to Rs 0.41 per unit for the year ended March 16 against Rs 1.17 per unit as on March last year.

    The difference between cost of supply of electricity in Haryana reduced by half to Rs 0.23 per unit in March from Rs 0.65 per unit a year ago, said the official quoted above.

    Discoms of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand have reduced the shortfall in revenue, but distribution companies of Punjab and Karnataka reported an increase in their losses. Twelve of the 16 states showed reduction in aggregate commercial and technical electricity losses that go unmetered.

    Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh are some of the states that showed decline in distribution losses.

    Preliminary data being compiled by the Union power ministry to launch a mobile application for monitoring implementation of Uday also shows that 13 of the 16 states have filed tariff revision petitions for 2016-17 with their respective state electricity regulatory commissions.

    The Union Power Ministry’s website and mobile app to monitor progress of UDAY will have data fed by state power distribution companies on 14 operational and financial parameters.

    The application will also rate the state power distribution system on the progress made by them against commitments made during signing of Uday agreements.

    As per provisional data available with the power ministry, Haryana, Gujarat, Bihar, Punjab and Rajasthan, have fulfilled 30-45% of the commitments made under UDAY. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand need improvement with below 30% progress while Jammu & Kashmir lags far behind delivering just 15% of the promises made under UDAY.

    The 14 parameters on which state distribution companies implementing UDAY are being measured include reduction in technical and commercial losses, reduction in gap between per unit cost of power supply and realisation, household electrification, urban and rural feeder metering, smart metering, profit and loss accounts and the distribution of LED lights. Marshall Faulk Jersey

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