GUWAHATI, July 23 - The Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL), which is in the news for its loss-making tradition since its inception, has now been able to overcome the jinx and is heading towards earning a profit for the first time in its 14-year-long existence. Till March 31, 2017, the accumulated loss of the public sector power utility was Rs 2,974.92 crore as was evident from the audited figures of its economic performance during the 2016-17 financial year.
The APDCL has also been able to improve its position in the Integrated Credit Rating Agency (ICRA) ratings. It has now got its position elevated to the 22nd among the 41 public and private distribution companies (Discoms) of the country. In 2015-16, it was 29th in the ICRA rating. This rating is important for the power companies in securing government or private financial institutions� support.
Sources claimed that the APDCL would be able to earn a profit of around Rs 100 crore during the financial year 2017-18. In this respect, sources refer to a rough estimate done on the APDCL finance for the financial year. However, a clear picture with the exact amount of profit would be available by the end of September, when the statutory audit of the APDCL accounts would be completed.
For the past seven to eight months, all the officers, employees and pensioners of the three public sector power utilities of the State have been able to draw their salaries and pensions regularly on the first day of the month. This is also an indication of the improved financial health of the power utilities, including the APDCL, sources said.
Figures available with this newspaper state that till March 31, 2017, the annual financial loss of the power utility was Rs 157.02 crore. In the 2015-16 financial year, the annual financial loss incurred by the power utility was Rs 362.69 crore, while it was Rs 571.27 crore in the 2014-15 financial year. The power utility started incurring loss since 2005-06 financial year.
Sources said that a work culture imbibed among the field officials of the power utility through the initiatives taken by the present ASEB chairman, the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) grants from the Union government and significant reduction of the aggregate transmission and commercial (AT&C) loss have played major roles in improving the finance of the power utility during the last financial year.
The power utility has so far been incurring loss mainly because of high establishment cost, high power purchase cost, the phenomenal hike in the electric power transmission under the direction of the Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission (AERC). It needs mention here that earlier the total annual power transmission charge of the APDCL was confined to Rs 534.76 crore, but in 2017-18 it rose to Rs 1,207.09 crore.
The APDCL every month spends around Rs 45 crore on the salaries of its officers and employees and around Rs 9 crore on other allowances. It annually spends Rs 1,207.09 crore on wheeling charge, around Rs 3,300 crore on purchasing power and it spends around Rs 600 crore to meet other expenses.
In the 2016-17 financial year, the power utility used to incur an AT&C loss of around 24.70 per cent. But in the 2017-18 financial year, it has come down to 15.6 per cent, sources said.