RP-Sanjiv Goenka’s flagship company, CESC Ltd, which saw its total income grow by nearly 9 per cent on y-o-y basis in 2022-23, is expecting “even better growth” in 2023-24 on the back of growth in economy and rising demand for electricity.

The company’s system demand grew at close to five per cent in 2022-23 with electricity demand surpassing pre-Covid levels of 11, 024 MU in 2019-20.

CESC’s total income (including other income) on a standalone basis grew by 9 per cent at ₹8,153 crore in 2022-23, up from ₹7,479 crore in 2021-22, even as electricity tariffs remained unchanged during the year. Operating and other costs increased during the year, in part due to high fuel and power purchase costs.

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“Policy initiatives by the government such as focus on manufacturing, electric vehicles and universal electricity access should contribute to growth in demand for electricity. Proposed deregulation of the power sector, including de-licensing of distribution, will open-up further opportunities for efficient power utilities. This should augur well for CESC, which has sufficient expertise in both power generation and in operating distribution networks across the country,” the company said in its latest annual report (2023).

Electricity demand in India increased by over 130 billion units (BU) registering around 10 per cent growth from 1,380 BU in 2021-22 to 1,512 BU in 2022-23. Not only does it come after a high (8 per cent) growth in 2021-22, the recent performance also surpasses growth in the last few years before Covid, it said. Most of this demand was met by the system, with a shortfall limited to 7.6 BU or about 0.5 per cent of the total demand in 2022-23.

Surge in digital payments

The company is an integrated power utility engaged in the generation and distribution of electricity across 567 sqkm of its licensed area including Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly, North and South 24 Parganas in West Bengal supplying electricity to its 3.5 million customers. The company, through its subsidiaries, also has a portfolio of independent power generation projects and distribution ventures in other parts of the country.

The peak power demand increased by over 16 per cent to 2,339 MW and ttal energy requirement grew at around nine per cent to 11, 175 MU in 2022-23. Nearly 83 per cent of this was met by CESC’s own generation, including Haldia Energy Ltd, it said.

CESC provided over 1,06,101 new connections in 2022-23. The company has witnessed a surge in digital payments with nearly 75 per cent of consumers making payments online in 2022-23, which constituted almost 82 per cent of total revenues, Sanjiv Goenka, Chairman, CESC said in the report.

The company is executing special projects to upgrade its distribution network and enhance its long-term capacity. As a part of a longer-term plan to augment its capacity to import power, import points are being upgraded to 220kV to facilitate drawing of more power from external sources. This apart, smart meters have been implemented for remote billing, smart and proactive outage management systems.

CESC, the report said, “has adequate processes” in place to minimise disruptions and its impact on performance. Most of the company’s generation capacities have long-term power sale arrangements. It is also well placed to access state and national grids to sell surplus power and has been successful in adequate utilisation of its generation capacities. Further, to mitigate the coal related risk, CESC has adopted a strategy of ensuring long term coal linkages for its projects.