The power distribution utilities in Rajasthan, Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Punjab are among major gainers in lowering their interest cost under UDAY scheme meant for revival of discoms. “State power distribution companies (DISCOMs) are reporting handsome savings and improvements in operational efficiency and found ways of cutting down power theft under Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY),” a senior official said. UDAY scheme was rolled out about 15 months ago in November 2015. As many as 22 states have joined the scheme so far.
Elaborating further, the official said,”Utilities in Rajasthan, Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Punjab are among the major gainers in lowering their interest cost. The Rajasthan government projected a saving of Rs 4,697 crore, Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam projected a saving of Rs 766 crore and Chhattisgarh projected a saving of Rs 526 crore.” “Dakshin Haryana DISCOM has achieved the book profit of about Rs 78 crore in first half of this fiscal in the backdrop of Rs 479 crore loss in fiscal 2016. This is commendable achievement by the DISCOM after joining UDAY,” the official said.
Out of 22 states under UDAY fold, power tariff orders for 2016-17 have been issued in 18 states. Therefore, they are working towards maintaining the financial viability and operations on commercial principles of State DISCOMs. The official said that Finance Ministry has already given permission to 12 states – Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh to issue bonds to the tune of Rs 1,94,681.49 crore. The states issued bonds worth Rs 1.83 lakh crore under the UDAY scheme to revive their debt laden discoms.
State run power giant NTPC has been handholding state electricity generation utilities in improving their operational efficiency through organising various workshops involving knowledge transfer relating to productivity enhancement and deputing its staff to study processes of various project sites. The official said,”With coal rationalisation and import substitution, NTPC has been able to achieve savings of 32 paise/unit. Even considering coal price hike, increase in clean energy cess & railway freight, there is a net benefit of 6.5 paise/Unit.”
Some of the initiative by the states to improve their performance include Manipur DISCOM-MSPDCL’s effort to install pre-paid electricity meters to reduce the outstanding consumer debts, energy theft and improve the billing efficiency. The revenue collection has gone up from Rs 88.61 crore in 2012-13 (Rs 7.38 crore monthly average) to Rs 175.95 crore in 2015-16 (Rs 14.66 crore monthly average).