Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the ministry of power’s flagship Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS), which is aimed at improving the operational efficiencies and financial sustainability of the power distribution companies (discoms), on Saturday.
The scheme, with an outlay of over Rs 3.03 trillion in five years to FY26, will enable discoms to modernise and strengthen the distribution infrastructure and improve the reliability and quality of supply of power to end consumers.
It also aims to reduce the AT&C (aggregate technical and commercial) losses to pan-India levels of 12-15% and ACS-ARR (average cost of supply-average revenue realised) gap to zero by 2024-25. REC and PFC have been nominated as nodal agencies for the scheme.
RDSS mandates compulsory installation of smart meters across the country. The Centre has set an ambitious target of installing 250 million smart meters by 2025.
Given the fact that discoms suffer massive losses due to power theft, AT&C losses, meter tampering and inaccurate billing, RDSS is being touted as a lifeline that can help discoms turn around their fortunes and also help in strengthening the power sector.
The scheme offers discoms conditional finance linked to the achievement of milestones. These include advance payments of tariff subsidies, clearance of government department dues, and liquidation of regulatory assets.
Half of the scheme’s outlay is for better feeder and transformer metering and pre-paid smart consumer metering. The remaining half, 60% of which will be funded by central government grants, will be spent on power loss reduction and strengthening networks.
With this new scheme coming into force, all other previous schemes such as Integrated Power Development Scheme, Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) would stand subsumed.
The Prime Minister will also dedicate and lay the foundation stone of various green energy projects of NTPC worth over Rs 5,200 crore. He will also inaugurate the 100 MW Ramagundam floating solar project in Telangana and the 92 MW Kayamkulam floating solar project in Kerala. He will also lay the foundation stone of 735 MW Nokh solar project in Rajasthan, green hydrogen mobility project in Leh and Kawas green hydrogen blending with natural gas project in Gujarat.
The Prime Minister will also launch national solar rooftop portal, which will enable online tracking of the process of installation of rooftop solar plants, starting from registering the applications to release of subsidy in residential consumers’ bank accounts after installation and inspection of the plant.