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Grand plan to better power distribution

Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd has submitted its investment business plan worth around Rs 20,000 crore to Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) to strengthen the distribution network across the state in the next three years.

“We have submitted investment business plan of around Rs 20,000 crore to the regulatory commission in our multi-year tariff petition for approval. According to the investment plan, the distribution network would be strengthened and made more reliable from April 2013 to latest by March 2016,” power holding company director Vinayak Chandra Gupta told The Telegraph.

According to the plan, money would be spent on setting up agriculture feeders, electrification of all villages with an emphasis to provide power on demand to households in every village, laying of new cables, replacing the old ones and transformers (on demand), increasing the capacity of the existing transformers and expanding network to take care of new consumers.

Of the Rs 20,028 crore investment plan, the power company proposes to invest Rs 3,363 crore for setting up a separate feeder for agriculture purpose, the demand for which is expected to be around 1,475MW in 2016-17. The demand in the current fiscal is 215MW. Besides, Rs 11,282 crore would be earmarked for rural electrification, which envisages electrification in 6,500 villages of the total 39,000 as part of Rajiv Gandhi Vidyutikaran Yojana. The scheme aims to illuminate 10 per cent of families belonging to the below poverty line category of a village.

Gupta said the government would launch another drive to provide electricity to villages, where power would be made available to every household on demand. The target of the scheme is to complete electrification within three years.

“The state would also launch a scheme at an estimated Rs 2,657 crore to create and expand the network keeping in mind the growth of consumers,” he added.

Another Rs 1,291 crore would be spent in three years as part of the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (RAPDRP). It would cover 71 towns. The programme would include exercises like conductoring, metering, ensuring proper voltage and installing safety equipment in all the towns so that power is restored quickly in the event of breakdown. Another Rs 1000 crore would be spent to strengthen the distribution network of around 50 towns that are not covered under the RAPDRP scheme.

Asked how the company would be able to meet such a huge expenditure, Gupta said much of the funds would be made available as grant from the Union or the state government and loans from financial institutions such as ADB and World Bank.

The plan of the power company, which came into existence following the recent restructuring of the erstwhile Bihar State Electricity Board, assumes significance because chief minister Nitish Kumar had in his Independence Day address announced that he would not seek votes in the next Assembly elections if he failed to provide electricity to every household. Nitish iterated his commitment on November 23 on the eve of releasing the report card of his government on its completion of seven years in office.