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Gujarat to invest Rs 1,500 cr in power sector over 3 years

Adith Charlie Mumbai | Updated on June 19, 2013

Focus on reducing transmission and distribution losses

Gujarat will invest around Rs 1,500 crore in the next three years in order to strengthen its power distribution and transmission infrastructure and reduce losses. The State aims to bring down transmission and distribution (T&D) losses to 15 per cent, D.J. Pandian, Principal Secretary (Energy), Government of Gujarat told Business Line recently.

“The spend will be directed to modernising transmission and distribution networks, increasing surveillance and additional deployment of manpower. Most of it will be channelled towards the Saurashtra region where maximum distribution and transmission losses are recorded,” said Pandian.

This would mark a complete transmission in Gujarat’s power sector, where T&D losses were a substantial 35.27 per cent, with frequent load shedding in 2001. Today, the State has surplus power of 2,000 MW, even as 18,000 villages get round-the-clock electricity supply.

Currently, Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited (PGVCL), the distribution company responsible for the Saurashtra region, reportedly has T&D losses of 29 per cent. Thus, if Saurashtra is brought in line with the other regions of Gujarat, the 15 per cent target will become a reality.

New transformers

“The issue in Saurashtra is that infrastructure is limited, electricity lines are very long and the substations few and far between. The economy is primarily agrarian and so most of the losses originate from agriculture,” said Pandian.

The State will deploy modern meters and new transformers to tide over these constraints. In addition, it will increase manpower to ensure that power thefts are kept under check. Five new energy police stations, exclusively focused on curbing power, are being planned, said Pandian.

Dedicated police stations already exist, mainly staffed by serving and retired state police officials, at Vadodara, Surat, Sabarmati, Rajkot and Bhavnagar. Power thefts in Gujarat, which once ranged between 20 per cent in urban areas and 70 per cent in rural regions, have significantly come down in most regions. Now, the endeavour is to replicate the same model in the Saurashtra region.

Even with T&D losses of 19 per cent, Gujarat is more efficient than most other States. Most of the States have T&D losses running up to 30-35 per cent. According to World Resources Institute (WRI), the country's electricity grid has the highest transmission and distribution losses in the world — a whopping 27 per cent.

adith.charlie@thehindu.co.in

Published on June 19, 2013

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