27% of power goes waste: Moily
Around 27,000 mw of electricity, which could ensure uninterrupted power supply to Delhi for four days in peak summer, goes waste every day in India as the power sector records AT&C losses at 27.15% of the power generated.
Power minister M Veerappa Moily on Friday said his top priority was to reduce aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses to 12%, which if achieved would make available 15,000 mw for various sectors.
"If private distributors can reduce AT&C losses to 7% in some cases, why cannot the government do it? Within three months, we will put a road map to achieve drastic reduction in AT&C losses which will have multiple beneficial effects on the power scenario of the country," Moily told TOI in an interview.
Assuming charge of the power portfolio immediately after the shock grid failures on consecutive days that plunged most parts of the country into darkness, Moily said, "The priority is to maintain strict grid discipline and bring down the all-India average AT&C losses to 10-12% level."
All-India average AT&C losses were pegged at 27.15% in 2009, in which southern region had an average of 19.49% and the north-eastern region 36.44%. Some states had loss levels as high as 70% and at the same time, some others had the loss average in single digit.
To improve the power generation capacity, Moily said there were several power projects in states which were ready for commissioning but were held up for months due to minor environmental objections or other issues.
"In the next few week, I will strive to hold consultations with other ministries to clear these small issues so that the plants ready for commissioning can start generating electricity," the minister said.
On simultaneous failures of northern, eastern and north-eastern grids, Moily said it happened because cash starved, loss making state-owned utilities preferred to overdraw power rather than contracting adequate power, thereby putting the grids at risk.
He said, "Another priority is to introduce stringent penalties for state governments and officers concerned for withdrawal of power beyond contracted quantities. If need be, related provisions in Electricity Act, 2003 could be amended."
Power ministry documents noted that "some of the states have not only been over-drawing power from the grid with impunity, they are also defaulting in payment of the unscheduled interchange charges which presently was to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore at the end of May with the biggest defaulters being Uttar Pradesh (Rs 842 crore), Jammu and Kashmir (Rs 498 crore), Punjab (Rs 81 crore) and Haryana (Rs 58 crore)".