AT&C losses, a euphemism of power theft ??

The Modi government succeeded in meeting its target of providing electricity to all the villages in the country in April this year. It now aims to provide 24×7 power to all households by April next year. This landmark achievement appears to have given the government added confidence as RK Singh, Union power minister, is working on plans to push this date to December 2018. This would mean freedom from power outages for households that have often been made to suffer in the sweltering heat or forced to fall back on inverter back-ups due to erratic electricity supply. The Centre had launched the ‘Saubhagya’ scheme in September 2017 to achieve universal household electrification in the country at a total cost of Rs 16,320 crore, which has brought a sea change in the power scenario. The government has also launched the integrated power development scheme (IPDS) which aims to provide quality and reliable 24×7 power supply in urban areas. So far, projects worth Rs 26,910 crore covering 3,616 towns have been sanctioned under the scheme. The IT and technical intervention envisaged in the scheme will also help in improving billing and collection efficiency which will ultimately result in reduction in aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses. These AT&C losses, which are a euphemism of power theft, are a major reason state power distribution companies landed in the current financial mess. A big game-changer in the effort to bail out bankrupt state entities has been the Centre’s Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY). The scheme, formulated in November 2015, aims to provide a permanent solution to legacy of debts of a staggering Rs 4.3 lakh crore and address potential future losses. The scheme also envisages reform measures in all sectors – generation, transmission, distribution, coal and energy efficiency. As many as 27 states and four UTs have joined the scheme which has been able to save interest charges to them to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore. The Modi government appears to have bagged the bragging rights on the power front as Singh says, “We added 24,000 MW power generation capacity per year compared to 4,800 MW of earlier governments. One lakh MW of power generation capacity and one lakh circuit KM of inter-state transmission capacity have been added in the last four years.” Besides, 25,000 circuit km (ckm) transmission capacity was added per year compared to 3,400 ckm during the previous governments, he added. The government has also achieved a major breakthrough in renewable energy with the cost of solar and wind power coming down to below Rs 2.50 per unit, in the e-auctions, which is as affordable as thermal power. The country’s solar installed capacity hit 20 GW in February 2018. The government expanded the country’s solar-generation capacity from 2,650 MW in 2014 to over 21,651 GW in January 2018. They now aim to add 225 Gw by 2022[News Mail Today]

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