Impressive reduction in financial losses of states who have joined the UDAY scheme have come to fore. Union minister of power, coal, RE and mines Piyush Goyal shared on Monday how the financial losses of Tamil Nadu are expected to come down by one-third this year while that of Rajasthan (that stood at Rs 15000 crore) will come down to about Rs 5500 crore.
UDAY (or Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana) seeks to turnaround DISCOMs and a total of 27 states and UTs have joined. The minister said that 85% UDAY bonds have already been issued (Rs 2.32 lakh crore out of total Rs 2.72 lakh crore).
On the T&D losses in states, the minister said he has asked for collation of the data. However, he added that more than the menace of T&D losses is the problem of unaccounted or unmetered connections that have not been shared by certain states.
The minister said he was shocked to find that there were 63 lakhs unmetered connections in Uttar Pradesh, a trend that was so far kept under wraps by the previous state government.
A recent review by him of the power sector in Uttar Pradesh has revealed that as many as 63 lakh connections are unmetered in the state, Goyal said, adding that this trend is going on for years. Instructions have been issued to relevant authorities in this regard, he said.
While in the previous regime Uttar Pradesh was hardly buying any power but they bought around 1100 mw power from the exchange on Sunday, Goyal said.
Commenting on the power availability, the minister said that even during the peak hours during the ongoing summers, power is available at Rs 2.66 a unit on the exchanges across the nation. He disclosed that he was informed by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra two days back that during the heat wave in the state, the peak demand had reached 23,055 mw but there were no outages reported.
On the RE front, Goyal said the government will encourage more local solar manufacturing for the solar energy sector that is heavily dependent on imports of solar panels and modules.
“Those setting up solar manufacturing units should locate them close to NTPC’s power plants so that power supply is not a problem,” he said.
Goyal further said that with surplus coal production in India (with 60 mt of stock with Coal India), states were being encouraged to shift their plans to set up imported coal-based ultra-mega power plants to domestic coal-based plants.
He said Tamil Nadu has agreed to shelve its imported coal-based ultra-mega power plant at Cheyyur and would set up a domestic coal-based UMPP.
The minister said the total coal production has increased to 554 MT in 2016-17 from 462 MT in 2013-14. After sufficient production, coal quality is the next frontier after achieving adequate coal for all power plants, he added.
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