GUWAHATI, Nov 3 - The State government should come up with a clear-cut policy to cope with the changed power sector scenario. It should also provide subsidy to the state-run power utilities of the State, in line with the developed countries like USA, to make these power utilities viable, said the Bidyut Grahak Mancha, Guwahati today. Addressing mediapersons here, Mancha general secretary Subodh Sarma, who is also a power engineer, alleged that due to the flawed power policy of the government, the State’s power utilities are now incurring a cumulative loss of around Rs 50,000 crore.
The State’s power tariff is the highest in the country. The loss incurred by the power utilities is shifted to the consumers, while there is no sincere effort either on the part of the power utilities or on the part of the State government to ascertain the factors responsible for the maladies of the power sector.
Besides, there is also no effort to assess in a comprehensive manner the total power potential of the State, Sarma rued.
Citing an example of the defective approaches of the State government and the power utilities, he said that the State has now decided to set up solar power plants in Gujarat and to carry the power generated in this west Indian state to the Assam consumers through the open access system. This decision is fraught with the danger of excessively raising the total energy cost for the State.
Again, the State government gave away the entire infrastructure of the Bongaigaon Thermal Power Station to the National Thermal Power Corporation at a symbolic price of rupees one. But the state-run Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd has now been made to procure power from this power station at the rate of Rs 5.85 per unit. The State government should have raised the issue of procurement price from this power station with the Union Power Ministry against the backdrop of its donating the entire infrastructure to the NTPC with the expectation that the power-starved State would be generously helped by the NTPC in overcoming its (State’s) problem of power shortage, Sarma said.
He regretted there is no serious bid to determine exactly the consumption and theft of power and transmission and distribution (T&D) losses in the State. Had the 11 kV and 30 kV substations, low transmission and high transmission feeders and all the consumer-end meters been on an IT network, the entire picture in this respect would have been crystal clear, he asserted.
The State may think of load management by raising the agricultural load during the off-peak-load-hours and reducing the tariff by adding installed generation capacity to its power stations for the purpose of generating power during the peak-load-hours, he suggested.
The State government must take urgent measures to ensure completion of the existing power projects of the Assam Power Generation Corporation Ltd and to install more gas-based generation projects of short gestation period, besides setting up hydel power projects of 30 MW to 60 MW generation capacities, said Sarma. He also suggested creation of an Upper Assam Load Centre of the APDCL to segregate the power load of the tea sector from that of the rest of the consumers to minimise the load of tariff on the common power consumers.
He informed that the Mancha made a comprehensive study of the maladies afflicting the power sector. The findings of the study, which incorporate the above points, among others, have been submitted to the Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission. It has accepted the findings, but the State Govt is yet to respond to the study.