State-run power distribution companies struggling to cut their humongous losses and wriggle out of a debt trap under the Ujwal Discoms Assurance Yojana (UDAY) will get the Centre’s support to upgrade their distribution infrastructure, minister for coal and power Piyush Goyal told FE.
Admitting that inadequate number and poor quality of electric feeders are the main reasons behind the discoms’ inability to reduce their technical and commercial (AT&C) losses in the required pace, the minister said a project was being launched to install state-of-the-art feeders and ensure robustness and reliability of power supply data.
As reported by FE recently, among the eight states have already issued bonds under UDAY scheme, six are running behind schedule in cutting AT&C losses.
As of July 2016, the deviation from the UDAY-mandated AT&C loss reduction trajectory was the most in the case of Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh, while Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Haryana, too, have a lot to catch up when it comes to adhering to the roadmap.
The new electric feeders being installed would transmit real-time that can be accessed by the general public. “The project will usher in transparency in the working of discoms. The consumers would know the exact status of power supply to them (so that incidences like unannounced load shedding could be curbed). It would also put pressure on the state-owned discoms to improve supply and cut losses through better monitoring,” Goyal said, adding that the project would take about a year to complete.
The state-owned Rural Electrification Corporation has already started the tendering process for installing modems on these feeders. The project, he said, will be funded through centrally-sponsored schemes like Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDGJY).
Electric feeders are conductors that provide electricity to end consumers. Currently there are nearly 1.5 lakh feeders in the country, but only about one-fifth of these feeders are able to send out live data.
This creates an information asymmetry and leaves room for manipulation, as data is collected manually by the discoms from such feeders.