Calcutta, Nov. 10: The Union power ministry has decided to award Rs 5 crore to state electricity boards and private distribution companies which improve performance.
However, certain parameters both at the state as well as the distribution levels will have to be met for the financial award — part of the much larger accelerated power development reform programme (APDRP).
Power ministry sources said a scoring methodology will prioritise the state electricity boards/power utilities in the descending order of points scored. The utility with the highest points will be awarded a sum of Rs 5 crore. Each parameter at the state and circle levels will bring in 100 points each with varying weightage, depending on how critical that is to performance.
Parameters at the state level include input energy versus metered energy, transmission and distribution losses, productivity (ratio of metered energy sale to consumers and total manpower strength in an SEB/distribution company), improvement in plant load factor, outstanding dues to central public sector undertakings and other agencies and declared financial losses.
In addition to these, parameters for the distribution circles include reliability index, average power factor at input to circle, complaint disposal time and number of consumer complaints. There are 436 distribution circles in the country.
Senior ministry officials said energy theft—directly or indirectly—is the major cause of the deteriorating performance of power utilities. To curb the menace of power theft, it is necessary to bring in a commercial orientation into the distribution business. Mandatory energy accounting and auditing in the circles and introduction of new IT-based billing system and procedures are expected to bring in remarkable results.
As commercial losses of the utilities are on the rise, it is essential that investments under the APDRP should demonstrate the results in identified circles.
“Keeping this in view and in order to promote and encourage best performing SEBs/utilities, the ministry felt it was prudent that an award scheme be instituted under the APDRP programme,” ministry officials said.
When contacted, G. D. Gautama, chairman West Bengal State Electricity Board said, “The scheme aims at reducing transmission and distribution losses, improving quality of power, reducing interruptions in supply and taking prompt action on faults.”