(FM) - RK Singh, Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy convened a series of regional level meetings and today to discuss the new Reforms Linked Distribution Sector Scheme.
Singh underlined to the ministers that the increasing demand for electricity has necessitated the strengthening and modernization of the Distribution infrastructure. He informed them that the scheme has been designed as a bottom-up scheme and the DISCOMs/States are empowered to prepare their own DPRs based on their need assessments prioritizing the loss reduction works. Modernization works such as System augmentation, Renovation and modernization of Substations etc. can also be carried out by the DISCOMs under this scheme, he pointed out.
The states’ Power Ministers appreciated the efforts being made by Central Government for strengthening the Power Sector. They informed the Minister that they were preparing their plans according to the time line. The Hon’ble Union Minister advised that the plan should address the weakness as in the system, and the plan should take into account the increasing demands. He stated that the plan should take into account what the demand will be in 10 years down the line, and prepare the system to meet that. He also stated that the system needed to be modernized. The Union Minister of Power also stated that he and his officer will also meet the States and sit with the State Energy Ministers and the officers to hold them draw up their plan.
Singh underlined that funding under the scheme will be released based on progress in operational and financial improvements in DISCOMs. He elaborated that that loss reduction by DISCOMs is not a difficult task and in order to reduce losses, they need to focus on (i) Improving Billing Efficiency (ii) Enhancing Collection Efficiency (iii) Ensuring timely payment for electricity consumption by Government Departments and (iv) Fixing tariffs reflective of Actual Cost of supply and the State Government making timely payment of Subsidy if they want to give electricity at lower rates.
The minister highlighted another important element of the scheme, that it envisages prioritization of 10 Crore Smart meters in all Government Departments and offices, Amrut cities, all UTs, high loss areas, Commercial and Industrial consumers other than Agricultural consumers in TOTEX mode. He said that sufficient funds are available under the scheme, and with planning and sincerity in implementation, an operationally efficient and financially sustainable electricity distribution sector can be developed, to meet the aspirations of citizens of the country.
RK Singh exhorted the ministers to encourage their states to avail benefits of PM-KUSUM scheme for Solarisation of agricultural feeders. With Solarisation of Agriculture feeders, electricity can be made available to farmers during day time free or at very low price from day one. States would save huge amount of subsidy being paid by them towards electricity consumption in agriculture sector. Further, Rooftop solar may also be encouraged to meet the increasing demand in environment friendly manner.