PDD MISSES METERING DEADLINE, LOSSES PILE UP
2009-10 Energy Bill Rs 2548 Cr, Revenue Rs 795 Cr
Srinagar, May 12: Notwithstanding the tall claims of bringing reforms in the power sector, the state government has failed to ensure timely implementation of some basic measures which were expected to check the cumulative financial losses and increase efficiency in the sector.
The state Power Development Department had started the metering of consumers in 2004-05 and was expected to complete it by December 2009. However the process has been left midway with only 50 percent of the consumers being metered.
Failing to meet the deadline the department has come under sharp criticism from the State Electricity Regulatory Commission, a statutory body having authority to regulate the power sector in JK.
The SERC has observed that metering has not been given due importance by the state government and hence results in “lot of wasteful consumption” of energy for want of checks or disincentives on overuse of energy. Citing an example, the SERC has noted that while 52 percent of consumers in the domestic/non-domestic-commercial/agriculture categories who are metered consumed 886 million units of energy in 2009-10, the remaining 48 per cent of un-metered consumers in the same category consumed 1,057 million units of energy leading to its misuse without corresponding increase in revenue.
Officials said “lack of political will” and reluctance of the department to adopt modern measures to check the losses was putting pressure on the financial health of the state. The department is still continuing with the obsolete power distribution system, which is resulting in huge financial losses, they said. “There are still more than 1.5 lakh old electro-mechanical meters prone to power theft installed in Jammu though they were replaced by the modern technology in Kashmir,” officials said.
They said except for Soura and a residential colony in Nishat here, government had failed to set up High Voltage Distribution System (HVDS), under which a consumer is accountable for every single unit of energy, in any other part of the state. The department has not even experimented to use Aerial Bunched Cable (ABC) system which has proven to be effective in checking power usage in densely populated area.
The LT line is not used in HVDS system, and remains insulated in ABC system, hence preventing power theft.
“It was only after the directives from the Commission that PDD completed metering up to 11 KV feeder level. Still, the metering of distribution transformers is not reported by the department and is understood to be at dismal levels in the state,” the SERC has pointed out in its annual report.
The state’s Power Purchase Bill for 2009-10 was more than Rs 2548.41 crore while as the revenue realized through tariff was only Rs 795.12 crore. The department’s “inefficiency” in bringing down the Transmission and Distribution and Aggregate Technical and Commercial losses and failing to ensure 100 per cent metering are considered to be the main causes resulting in widened gap between the power cost and revenue generation.
Officials said though the number of consumers officially registered had gone up to 10,00,000, the actual figures are believed to have doubled with the department failing to check the menace of illegal connections.
“These (illegal) connections must be in lakhs. As per CAPD figures there are 10 lakh households in the state but we have at least 20 lakh power connections. This variation in the figures between two departments simply speaks about the number of illegal connections,” sources said.
Sources said though significant progress was made in the initial years and the overall metering had improved, the process has got stalled and the department has projected only 56 per cent metering during the last fiscal even as the Commission has categorically asked the PDD to complete metering by December 2009.
Besides, sources said, metering of all distribution transformers in the cities of Jammu and Srinagar, revision of agreements of all categories of consumers so as to arrive at realistic connected loads, reactivating supervision to check the menace of by-passing and tampering of meters, reduction in human interface, application of IT and replacement of bare conductors with insulated wires in theft-prone areas are some other areas where the department is facing criticism for slow work.
“The information on energy accounting and audits at various levels in the Transmission and Distribution system, which is essential for preparing loss reduction strategies and schemes, is not up to the mark, hence costing the state on financial front,” sources said.
Though officials said the non-availability of the meters and cable had caused delay in completion of the process and the department was unlikely to meet the deadline set by the SERC, the Principal Secretary, PDD, BR Sharma told Greater Kashmir that all matters had been sorted out and the targets would be achieved within “set time.”
“We have received more than two lakh meters and the installation process will be started on war footing,” he asserted.
However, a top PDD official said under the revised APDRP scheme, nine towns of Jammu region and 19 in Kashmir would be metered completely by the end of this year. The department would only then focus on un-metered areas, he said.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 12 May 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 12 May 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 13 May 2010 00:00:00 IST
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