After connecting over 2.62 crore households with power supply connection under Saubhagya scheme, the Narendra Modi-led government has now advanced its goal to provide 24-hour quality and reliable power supply across India. However, state-run power distribution companies are yet to meet the operational and financial targets set under the scheme UDAY (Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojna).
In an exclusive conversation with CNBC-TV18, power secretary AK Bhalla said some state discoms are not performing well on its targets and the central government is in discussion with those underperforming states. "The issue with some states is that of subsidy provided to a segment of power consumers and states have been told to provide any such subsidy under Direct Benefit Transfer for timely disbursal."
The government plans to approve tariff policy within 100 days which will include provisions like a penalty on a discom if it fails to provide quality and reliable power supply, compensation to power consumers and implementation of smart metering to curb power theft, he said.
If power losses on account of AT&C (Aggregate Technical & Commercial) exceed 15%, state regulators will not pass on the inefficiency of the discoms to the consumers by an increase in the tariff.”
All India AT&C losses for 22 state discoms stand at 18.26 percent (unaudited) for the fiscal year 2018-19.
Discoms have also garnered flak on a delay in payments to power generating companies. At the end of April 2019, Rs 19,349 crore is overdue to companies like NTPC, Adani Power, GMR, NHPC and Tata power.
Commenting on the issue of delayed payments, the secretary said “4-5 states’ outstanding has increased in the last few years, which may lead to more stress in the sector. Regulatory assets and large dues pending mostly from government departments of states are leading to delay in payment. “
He also outlined that India’s renewable energy growth has been remarkable and by 2030 India’s energy mix will change coal share to 50 percent from the current 75 percent.
India’s energy demand is expected to reach 800 GW (Giga Watt) with coal-based power requirement to be at 225-240GW, Solar energy share at 300 GW and 140GW from the wind sources.