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Gujarat tops; Maharastra lags far behind in the state discom list

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DNA India
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The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL) has been placed at 14th position in the latest annual integrated rankings of state distribution utilities in India. A year ago, the MSEDCL was ranked at sixth place by the ministry suggesting deterioration within a year. The company has been accorded B+ grade alongside with the state utilities of Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Bengal. Even as Maharashtra government consistently claims being a power surplus state and promises 24X7 supply to farmers, the Power Ministry's latest revelation, exposes how its power distribution company has gone worse within a year due to reasons such as power deficit and rising losses.

The Power Ministry rated 40 state distribution utilities spread across 21 states and the ratings are based on operational, financial, reform, regulatory parameters that covers the financial year of 2015-16.Only three state discoms in the country got an A+ grade in the latest ratings. All of them (Uttar, Dakshin, Madhya Gujarat Vij companies) are from Prime Minister's home state—Gujarat and have bagged top four places, maintaining their previous year's record.

"Increased aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C Losses), significant dependence on subsidy from state, continuing subsidy to farmers, vulnerable cost of supply due to dependence on short-term sources of power given the continuing power deficit situation in the state," are cited as "key concerns" over the MSEDCL's performance by the Power Mministry. Moreover, sharp increase in debtor levels, delays in submission of audited account and 20% tariff subsidy for all about 11 month period (till Nov 2014) by state government are also highlighted as "key concern" areas.

47% weightage is given to the AT&C losses, efficiency of power purchase cost and customer interface. Financial parameters carry weightage of 33% and regulatory environment and State subsidy support have been assigned weightage of 20% while evaluating rankings. dna had earlier reported about the worsening condition of the state-own company, owing to rising revenue losses, power dues on farmers touching to Rs 13,000 crore and also revenue losses of over Rs 56,500 crore.Energy Minister of Maharashtra, Chandrashekhar Bawankule was unavailable for any comment.However, the Power Consumers Association of Maharashtra claims that the corruption within the company, power theft and irrational administrative expenditure are the reasons behind hefty revenue losses.

The activists also insist that MSEDCL seeks to hide its inefficiency into agricultural dues. Responding to their allegations, the company holds 'inflation' and 'industries' (which are increasingly shunning the state discom and switching to Open Access power) responsible for its losses. Denying, Sanjeev Kumar, MD, MSEDCL, says, "Although we haven't checked the report, I think, it's far from reality. There is no power deficit in the state since last two years. We are not buying power from small players. Our AT&C losses are 17-18% which is much less compared to other states," and adds, "We are trying our best to improve on theft and agricultural losses."On charges that corruption is bleeding out Mahavitaran, Sanjiv Kumar says, "We aren't receiving disproportionate complaints of corruption though I believe in zero tolerance on that."

Author: sustainabilityoutlook