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State power sector incurs Rs 3,700-cr loss

By Ajit Patowary

GUWAHATI, Nov 11 - The State power sector is in a difficult situation. The accumulated loss of the three public sector power utilities of the State is a staggering amount of around Rs 3,700 crore. This amount has been calculated since the splitting of the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) in 2004, when the power utilities started with a clean sheet.

The splitting process of the ASEB, which is also described as the reform process, completed in 2007. In 2007, it was targeted to bring the turn around in the fiscal health of the State�s power sector in 2008-09 with the expectation that they would become self-sustaining. But these utilities still continue to incur loss.

According to information available with this newspaper, of the above amount of loss, the share of Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL) is around Rs 3,090 crore, while the share of Assam Electricity Grid Corporation Ltd (AEGCL) in this amount is around Rs 442 crore and that of the Assam Power Generation Corporation Ltd (APGCL) is around Rs 173 crore.

Sources attribute this development to several factors. Of them, sources enumerate the non-remunerative tariff, higher transmission and distribution (T&D) losses, lack of transparency in metering and billing activities of the APDCL, lack of accountability and wasteful expenditure as the major ones.

Elaborating, sources said, the tariff awarded to the power utilities by the Assam State Electricity Regulatory Commission (AERC) is non-remunerative. They are granted a low tariff compared to the cost of power they supply to the consumers.

The transmission and distribution loss in the State�s power sector is also high. It is 26 per cent at present. But the fact remains that the AERC has been fixing the T&D loss target to the APDCL and the AEGCL. Only the loss approved by the AERC can be passed on to the consumers. The rest of the loss must be absorbed by the APDCL and the AEFCL. For example, the AERC approved the AEGCL a transmission loss level at 3.64 per cent for the financial year of 2015-16.

The APDCL meter reading has a lot of flaws. It is one of the areas which need to be looked into seriously by the authorities. Moreover, accountability is not fixed in most of the cases by the power utilities. There is also pressing need to bring an end to the tendency of indulging in wasteful expenditure among many officers of the power sector, sources said.

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State power sector incurs Rs 3,700-cr loss

GUWAHATI, Nov 11 - The State power sector is in a difficult situation. The accumulated loss of the three public sector power utilities of the State is a staggering amount of around Rs 3,700 crore. This amount has been calculated since the splitting of the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) in 2004, when the power utilities started with a clean sheet.

The splitting process of the ASEB, which is also described as the reform process, completed in 2007. In 2007, it was targeted to bring the turn around in the fiscal health of the State�s power sector in 2008-09 with the expectation that they would become self-sustaining. But these utilities still continue to incur loss.

According to information available with this newspaper, of the above amount of loss, the share of Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL) is around Rs 3,090 crore, while the share of Assam Electricity Grid Corporation Ltd (AEGCL) in this amount is around Rs 442 crore and that of the Assam Power Generation Corporation Ltd (APGCL) is around Rs 173 crore.

Sources attribute this development to several factors. Of them, sources enumerate the non-remunerative tariff, higher transmission and distribution (T&D) losses, lack of transparency in metering and billing activities of the APDCL, lack of accountability and wasteful expenditure as the major ones.

Elaborating, sources said, the tariff awarded to the power utilities by the Assam State Electricity Regulatory Commission (AERC) is non-remunerative. They are granted a low tariff compared to the cost of power they supply to the consumers.

The transmission and distribution loss in the State�s power sector is also high. It is 26 per cent at present. But the fact remains that the AERC has been fixing the T&D loss target to the APDCL and the AEGCL. Only the loss approved by the AERC can be passed on to the consumers. The rest of the loss must be absorbed by the APDCL and the AEFCL. For example, the AERC approved the AEGCL a transmission loss level at 3.64 per cent for the financial year of 2015-16.

The APDCL meter reading has a lot of flaws. It is one of the areas which need to be looked into seriously by the authorities. Moreover, accountability is not fixed in most of the cases by the power utilities. There is also pressing need to bring an end to the tendency of indulging in wasteful expenditure among many officers of the power sector, sources said.