The Power Ministry would soon approach the Cabinet to seek approval for enabling private sector electricity distribution companies (discoms) to get operational benefits of the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY).

“It is not a question of whether to include private discoms or exclude them. UDAY has two aspects, financial aspects and operational efficiency aspects. As far as the financial aspect goes, government cannot take over a private discom’s debt. But it is for the operational efficiencies where we plan to involve them, which is only fair for cities like New Delhi and Mumbai,” said Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, on Tuesday. He was speaking on the sidelines of the National Workshop on Rooftop Solar.

Under UDAY, the scheme for reviving financially stressed electricity distribution utilities, State governments take over 75 per cent of the debt with the electricity distribution utilities. The remaining debt is issued as discom bonds, backed by State governments.

Apart from the financial aspects, the Centre, States and the electricity distribution utilities also enter into a tripartite agreement on various targets to improve operational efficiency.

Solar push Addressing the event, Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha said the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) should now focus on developing a business model that would allow electricity distribution utilities to promote rooftop solar.

The Centre’s target of setting up 100,000 MW of solar power capacity in the country by 2022 requires 40,000 MW of rooftop solar capacity.

“40,000 MW of rooftop solar is a challenging target. The biggest challenge is within the sector.

“We have to work out a business model where distribution utilities themselves promote rooftop solar.

“Setting up rooftop solar on government buildings is relatively easier. But to achieve the target, individual houses are key, and there lies the big challenge,” said Sinha.

While Goyal expressed confidence that the MNRE would come up with a viable plan, he added that rooftop solar power plants were also important for energy conservation.