Bangalore, July 31
THE power sector in the country has achieved growth of 7.5 per cent during the first quarter of the current financial year despite shortages in supply of coal and gas.
The Union Minister for Power, Mr P.M. Sayeed who inaugurated the 14th meeting of public power utility chiefs here on Saturday, said that the improvement was mainly on account of substantial efficiency achieved in improving the plant load factor in power generation.
In June alone this year a record of 9.3 per cent growth was achieved, he added. During 2004-2005 over 4,000 MW of power from private sector was added with an investment of over Rs 15,000 crore and approval for three Independent Power Producers (IPP) which have came forward to produce 2,200 MW of power was under process, he said. Eight more IPPs have also sought permission to generate 15,000 MW of power with an investment of over Rs 60,000 crore in different parts of the country.
The Minister expressed concern over increasing aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses. The losses are estimated at 39 per cent leading to large revenue losses to the State-owned utilities.
He called upon states to come up with effective measures with regard to energy audit and theft control. However, various initiatives taken by the Centre to revive the power sector were yielding positive results, he said.
A study done by PFC stated that revenue gap of the State utilities has declined from 64 paise per unit in 2001-2002 to 38 paise per unit in 2003-04. Subsidy being disbursed to these utilities by State Government was also showing declining trend, he said.
There was a need to add one lakh MW of additional capacity during the 10th and 11th five year plans to cater to the needs of all consumers in the country.
The per capita power consumption in the country has been estimated at 600 units and it is likely to increase further in the coming years, he added. Despite significant progress in capacity addition since independence, demand for electricity continue to outstrip the supply resulting in energy and peaking shortages having adverse impact on the economy, the Minister said.
A major challenge for the power sector in the future will be to ensure that the anticipated demand is adequately met in a reliable and cost-efficient manner.