While the government, Reserve Bank of India and the judiciary are grappling with the issue of stressed power projects worth Rs 2.5 lakh crore, the electricity distribution companies (discoms) are adding to the latter’s woes.
Rating agency Icra has estimated a subsidy dependence of Rs 85,000 crore amid low tariff hikes allowed for discoms in 2018-19, and expects improvement in thermal plants capacity utilisation or PLF in near to medium term.
The Union government plans to set up a national power distribution company that will handhold state discoms in electricity distribution activities and ensure time-bound implementation of central schemes.
The government has awarded power transmission projects worth Rs 48,427 crore since 2014, power distribution companies have saved Rs 20,000 crore in interest cost and the power ministry’s star labelling programme has helped save Rs 22,500 crore worth of energy over the period.
The draft amendment to the National Tariff Policy, 2016, released by the power ministry on Wednesday proposed to introduce a penalty mechanism for gratuitous load-shedding by electricity distribution companies (discoms),
If the state governments still wanted to keep electricity subsidies, they should give these to the intended beneficiaries via the direct benefit transfer (DBT) route, rather than burden the distribution companies (discoms) by making them the transfer agents, power minister RK Singh said.
The BSES discoms in the national capital will collaborate with policy research organisation TERI to make efforts to bring down the city’s power demand and raise awareness among around 90,000 schoolchildren, said a spokesperson for the company.