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Plug-loss sermon to power firm

The state power regulatory commission on Tuesday directed the Bihar State Power Holding Company Limited (BSPHCL) to check its transmission and distribution losses to overcome the problem of energy scarcity.

The Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (Berc) has asked both the distribution companies — north and south Bihar — to bring down its distribution losses to 21.4 per cent in the next financial year.

“North Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited and South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited had petitioned for 45 per cent and 36.5 per cent distribution loss, respectively. But the commission has set a target of 21.4 per cent of distribution losses for them for the financial year 2014-15. It approved four per cent of transmission losses for Bihar State Power Transmission Company Ltd (BSPTCL),” Berc chairman U.N. Panjiar told reporters.

He said BSPHCL, the erstwhile Bihar State Electricity Board, had sought 42 per cent transmission and distribution losses for 2012-13 but the panel fixed the target at 27.5 per cent.

The power company proposed 38 per cent transmission and distribution losses for 2013-14 but the regulatory body set 26 per cent as the target.

According to the commission’s consultant, Nand Sharma, the distribution losses could be reduced by checking power theft and strengthening the distribution network system. The panel has noted several measures being taken by the distribution companies in this regard.

In its tariff order for 2014-15 issued on Friday, Berc — the regulatory body entrusted with the job of fixing the electricity tariff rate for all kinds of consumers — did not propose any hike. It observed that considerable investment to strengthen the distribution network, and replace conductors and defective transformers had been made with financial assistance from the central and state governments.

It added that the two distribution companies had taken effective steps to reduce commercial losses by appointing input-based franchisees for major towns and revenue franchisees for other areas. With these significant measures, it should be possible for the two distribution companies to reduce their distribution losses and substantially increase the revenue and meet the modest gap, it said.

A senior official of the commission, on the condition of anonymity, told The Telegraph: “Unless the power company ensures complete metering of all 33KV and 11KV feeders and distribution transformers, it will continue to incur losses. The company can purchase power from other sources but cannot generate revenue accordingly as long as theft is not checked through a proper metering system.”