Total outstanding dues owed by power distribution utilities or discoms to generation firms (gencos) are estimated to be more than Rs 1.56 lakh crore, Parliament was informed on Thursday.
“Discoms have not been able to pay the generation companies for the power procured, and the outstanding payments to generation companies are estimated to be in excess of Rs 1,56,000 crore. The outstanding dues to renewable generators are around 11 months of revenues. Therefore, reforms have been deliberated upon in consultation with the states and all stakeholders,” Power Minister R K Singh said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
The condition of most of the state government owned distribution companies is a matter of grave concern, the minister stated.
Their AT&C (aggregate technical and commercial) losses at the end of 2019-20 range from an average of 21 per cent to a maximum of 60.16 per cent. The gap between Average Cost of Supply (ACS) and Average Revenue Realised (ARR) excluding Regulatory Assets and Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) grants averages 60 paise per unit in 2019-20 and the accumulated losses of all discoms in the country by 2019-20 have risen to Rs 5,07,416 crore, he informed the House.
About government’s plans to introduce a Bill, enabling the power consumer to choose from multiple service providers, the minister said, “No final decisions have been arrived at so far.” Earlier this week, the minister had indicated that the bill (Electricity Amendment Bill, 2021) is unlikely to be tabled in Parliament in the ongoing Winter Session as it awaits Union Cabinet approval.
The power ministry proposes to de-license the power distribution business through this bill which would eventually make way for multiple (electricity supply) service providers in an area.
In another reply to the House, the minister stated that as many as 4,21,384 smart pre-paid electricity metres are installed till December 9, 2021, while the number of smart electricity metres are 32,86,263.
Under the Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS) launched by the Government of India on July 20, 2021, provisions have been made to install 25 crore pre-paid smart meters across the country.
Prepaid smart metering eliminates human interventions in metering, billing and collection, while at the same time provides consumers the choice to calibrate their consumption to their actual requirements on a near real-time basis. Automatic metering, billing and collection eliminate inefficiencies in these processes including losses due to theft. This helps in reduction of Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) losses.