Srinagar: Power purchases continue to drain the financial resources of Jammu and Kashmir as the newly created UT has spent over Rs 18,400 crore on electricity purchases from outside power utilities.
Jammu and Kashmir is heavily dependent on outside power supply, particularly the National Grid which supplies electricity to the UT as the local generation of state-owned power plants is not sufficient to meet the bulging electricity demands.
As per the figures accessed by Greater Kashmir, in 2018-19 J&K spent Rs 6058 crore on electricity, the power purchase bills increased to Rs 6072 crore in 2019-20 and in 2020-21 Rs 6317 crore were spent on power purchases.
However as per Power department officials, Jammu and Kashmir despite spending Rs 6300 crore annually on power purchases while its revenue realization is just Rs 2600 crore on account of tariffs collected from consumers.
A total Rs 18,447 crore has been spent on power purchases in three years.
A senior Power Development Department (PDD) official informed that the revenue deficit faced by the PDD was a cause of concern as it was directly connected to losses.
“We are buying electricity worth more than Rs 6,300 Cr every year, but are able to earn only Rs 2,600 Cr as revenue. Though a number of steps have been taken to bridge the gap between power purchases and revenue collection yet it needs support from the people. They should desist from pilferages,” he said adding that the government had started the installation of smart meters in the UT.
Keeping this in view, the JKPDCL and KPDCL have filed petitions before the Joint Electricity Regulatory commission proposing a hike in power tariffs.
As per the petition, the KPDCL has mentioned that in the year 2019-20, the cumulative revenue gap was to the tune of Rs 1604.95 crore while the same increased to Rs 5890.76 crore in the year 2020-21.
Similarly, the gap further increased to Rs 9898.63 crore during the financial year 2021-22 and at the existing tariff, the cumulative revenue gap will increase to Rs 13145 crore during the current financial year (2022-23).“The proposed tariff would lead to increase in revenue by Rs 243.60 crore”, the petition said.
"It is submitted that the last tariff hike of 13.5 percent was approved by erstwhile J&KSERC on 07.10.2016. since then, JKPDD could not file tariff petition with tariff proposals because the positions of chairman and members remained vacant for about 2 years. Although erstwhile JKSERC was constituted later on but was wound up at the time of reorganization of J&K on 5th August 2019."
J&K government has set a target to double the Hydropower Generation Capacity in the next 3 years from the existing capacity of 3500 MW.
“In this direction, 5 Mega Hydro-power projects viz Ratle (824 MW), Kirthai-II (930 MW) Sawalakote (1856 MW), Dulhasti-Stage II (258 MW) and Uri-I Stage-II (240 MW) having a total capacity of 4134 MW have been taken up for execution in collaboration with NHPC. The likely investment in these projects is Rs 34882 crore and on completion will make J&K power surplus. The delay in execution of the projects has been eliminated and the pace of execution accelerated,” the official document of the J&K government mentions.
“On-going HEPs i.e., Kiru (624 MW), Kawar (540 MW) and Pakaldul (1000 MW) are being developed through Joint ventures. By 2022-23, major civil and electro-mechanical works of these projects will be completed,” it adds.