New Delhi: The average electricity availability in rural areas has gone up from 12:30 hours in 2014 to 22:30 hours at present and it also increased to 23:30 hours in cities from 22.30 hours nine years ago, said Union Power Minister RK Singh.
Singh said this during a Review Planning & Monitoring (RPM) meeting with states and state power utilities, which was convened on 10th & 11th July 2023 in the capital, under the minister's chairmanship, stated a power ministry statement.
The minister mentioned that over the past 7-8 years the government has brought about a sea change in the country's power sector.
"We have added 185 GW of capacity transforming our country from power deficit to power surplus. We have connected the whole country with a single unified grid capable of transferring 1,12,000 MW from one corner of the country to another," he said.
The government has strengthened the distribution system under DDUGJY and IPDS as well as SAUBHAGYA; constructed more that 2,900 substations, upgraded more than 3,900 substations, he informed.
The government has added 8,50,000 ckt kms (circuit kilometres) of HT & LT (high and low tension) lines, 7,50,000 transformers and 1,12,000 ckt kms of agricultural feeders.
"As a result of all this the power availability in rural areas has gone up from 12:30 hrs in 2014 to 22:30 hrs today; while in urban areas the national average availability is 23:30 hrs," he highlighted.
The minister stated that together "we made the power sector viable. Today all current power purchase dues are paid on time, while the legacy overdues have come down from Rs 1,39,747 crore to Rs 69,957 crore."
He expressed satisfaction that most of the state/discoms have started implementing reform measures prescribed by the ministry of power under its various initiatives like the Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS), Additional Prudential Norms and Late Payment Surcharge (LPS) Rules, 2022.
"As a result, the AT&C (aggregate technical and commercial) losses have reduced to 16.5 per cent from 22 per cent and ACS-ARR (Average Cost of Supply and Average Realizable Revenue) gap has come down to 15 paise/unit from 69 paise/unit," he stated.
Various reforms recently undertaken in the power sector like Renewable Generation Obligation, mandatory resource adequacy planning and rationalisation of open access charges etc. were discussed during the meeting.
The minister pointed out that tariff should be reflective of cost and up to date and suggested that realistic/ prudent loss reduction trajectories should be adopted by regulatory commissions for discoms to be viable.
All the states were advised to follow multi-year tariff regime going forward.
He also emphasised on the importance of correct subsidy accounting by the discoms and timely payment of subsidy dues by respective state governments.
Discoms were advised to undertake prepaid smart metering of government offices on priority to overcome the issue of outstanding government department dues.
The ministry of power has already issued rules along with clear SOP for subsidy accounting and payments which shall be adhered mandatorily by all states/discoms.
Nodal agencies (REC and PFC) for RDSS presented the status of progress in their respective states under the scheme.
The status of tendering/award and progress of works sanctioned under RDSS was reviewed for all the participating discoms.
Discoms were advised to expedite implementation of works and ensure quality of works being undertaken under the scheme.
It was noted that most states/discoms were on track as regards to qualifying parameters and eligible to receive funding.
In most states the tendering action has been completed and works have been awarded.
Some states/discoms which were lagging were asked to expedite the finalisation of tenders and award of works.
The minister expressed satisfaction over performance of the sector.
He expressed his belief that with concerted efforts we will be able to achieve further improvement in quality and reliability of power supply thus ensuring better quality of life for people of the country.