Union Minister RK Singh has urged States to be financially viable in view of the mounting outstanding dues of power generation companies.
This will help attract investments in the power sector and also benefit the consumers through reduced cost of electricity and improved consumer services, he said.
The suggestion came on Friday during a review meeting chaired by Singh with Additional Chief Secretaries and Principal Secretaries of Power/Energy Departments of states and UTs and CMDs/MDs of power sector CPSUs here.
Minister of State for Power Krishan Pal Gurjar and Minister of State for New and Renewable Energy Bhagwant Khuba were also present in the meeting with senior officials from both the ministries.
Singh, in his inaugural address, underlined that the power sector has been brought forward a long way, by the current government.
"The country has become power surplus; we have connected the whole country into one grid, and strengthened the distribution system. These steps have increased the power availability to 22 hours in rural areas and 23.5 hours in urban areas. The next step is to take it to 24X7 guaranteed power supply at affordable price," a power ministry statement quoted him as saying.
The matter of increasing overdues of power generation firms (gencos) was also deliberated and it was advised that distribution companies (discoms) must immediately undertake loss reduction measures through proper metering, billing and energy accounting.
Proper accounting of subsidies being announced by respective State governments and payment to discoms also need to be ensured.
It was reiterated that improved financial sustainability of the discoms will not only attract investments in the power sector as a whole but will also benefit the consumers through reduced cost of electricity and improved consumer services, it stated.
Singh stated that the availability of power is fundamental to the Indian economy and objective is to provide world-class services and facilities for the citizens of this country.
The minister also emphasized upon energy transition towards more green energy to safeguard the environment for the coming generations while taking forward development of the sector.
The manifold benefits of PM-KUSUM scheme primarily in the form of additional income and cheaper electricity for farmers were emphasised.
State governments will benefit through reduced subsidy burden.
This will also benefit the environment as well in the form of clean and green energy generation, he stressed.
Status of implementation
The State-wise status of implementation and issues being faced were deliberated in detail during the meeting. Renewed focus was laid on renewable energy for ensuring availability of sufficient electricity supply in an environment-friendly manner.
Further, it was stressed that for providing 24x7 uninterrupted power supply to consumers; an operationally efficient and financially viable electricity distribution sector is necessary.
In order to achieve this objective, the Centre has recently launched the Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme having total outlay of ₹3 lakh crore.
The scheme aims at reducing the AT&C (aggregate technical and commercial) losses to 12-15 per cent and eliminating ACS-ARR (actual cost of supply-average revenue realised) gap at pan India level by 2024-25.
The formulation of plans by different states was reviewed. All states and discoms are progressing well in preparation of action plans and DPRs (detailed project reports) as per the scheme guidelines.
Minister of State for Power Krishan Pal Gurjar appreciated the efforts and cooperation by states in achieving 100 per cent electrification under Saubhagaya scheme , DDUGJY.
Reviewing the status of Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme, he said discoms are the nodal point for the consumers in power value chain and hence their performance is key.