GUWAHATI, June 5 - Union Power Minister RK Singh today indicated that states which fail to bring down transmission and distribution (T&D) losses to below 15 per cent by next year may face fund cut if corrective actions are not taken by them.
“We have asked the states which have high T&D losses to give an action plan to bring it down to below 15 per cent. Unless they do it by March, 2019, funding agencies will not fund them,” Singh told a select group of journalists here over video conference from New Delhi.
Admitting that states like Assam are making high T&D losses, Singh said Rural Energy Corporation (REC) and Power Finance Corporation (PFC) may not grant loans to the distribution companies (discoms) which are making losses of over 15 per cent unless they chalk out a plan to reduce them.
Maintaining that discoms which have been making heavy T&D losses may find it difficult to repay the loans, the minister said the states will then have to bear the additional losses they are incurring.
Some 16 to 17 states are incurring distribution losses more than 15 per cent. The ‘aggregate technical and commercial’ losses Assam incurred in 2017-18 is 16.6 per cent, against the UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana) target of 17.7 per cent for the year. In the previous year, it was 22 per cent.
Singh also said the Centre is formulating a tariff policy, under which load-shedding after March 2019 would invite penalties for power distributors. “All discussions will be done with states and, in fact, discussions are still going on with certain states on the new policy,” he said.
The Union Power Minister also indicated that the Central Government is optimistic that the National Green Tribunal will find a solution to the Lower Subansiri hydroelectric project issue.
“We want more power. Hydroelectric projects elsewhere have led to increase in earnings. In case of the Lower Subansiri project, we had got all necessary clearances and met environmental norms before starting the project. Now that the case is in the NGT, we are optimistic it will find a solution,” Singh added.