Pitching for letting private players operate and maintain its network, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (Mahadiscom), the cash-starved electricity distribution company of the Maharashtra government, is planning to invite international bids to implement franchisee model in six more locations.

Currently, the model is being successfully implemented in certain parts of Bhiwandi near Mumbai and Nagpur distribution circles, which are operated by Torrent Power and SNDL, respectively.

Mahadiscom, which has a consumer base of over 24 lakh, had also implemented the model in Aurangabad and Jalgaon through GTL and CGL, respectively.

However, since these firms delayed payments to Mahadiscom, their agreements were terminated.

“Since we have two success stories, which have helped us reduce the distribution losses by almost 50 per cent, we feel we should continue this model to ensure efficiency in maintenance of the network and timely collection of dues from our consumers,” Mahadiscom Director Vishwas Pathak told PTI .

The utility will soon invite international tenders for letting more private players into the segment, he said

Boosting efficiency

Mahadiscom is looking at private participation in Jalgaon, Aurangabad, Dhule, Latur, Thane (Kalwa-Mumbra circle) and Nagpur.

“We are facing severe technical and commercial losses, which apart from imposing a heavy fiscal burden on the State, are deterring much-needed investments and adversely affecting services,” Pathak said.

It can be noted that Mumbai and its suburbs, which generally have uninterrupted power supply, had hours of load-shedding last week, forced by lack of coal at power plants.

Pathak further said since the public private partnership model could be implemented to increase investment and improve operational efficiency and service delivery, Mahadiscom is planning to expand the franchisee model to more cities.

“Franchising distribution areas to private players allows greater management flexibility for efficiency improvement measures and to introduce more effective operational practises,” Pathak added.