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No quality power for consumers even after 2 decades of reforms

The project also aimed at providing quality and reliable power by upgrading the distribution infrastructure.

Published: 07th April 2021 06:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th April 2021 08:23 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Even as the State is losing more than a third of the power supplied to consumers in system losses and the distribution companies are struggling to pay bulk supply bills in time, the Rs 3,843 crore distribution system strengthening project has failed to yield the desired result.The aggregated technical and commercial (AT&C) loss continued to be as high as 74 per cent (pc) in several areas of the State while the promised supply of quality and reliable power elude the consumers even after more than two decades of power sector reforms. 

This revelation was made by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its audit report on Public Sector Undertakings tabled in the just concluded Assembly.Suffering from high AT&C loss of 36.52 pc as against the approved norm of 22.17 pc during 2013-14, the State government launched the Odisha Distribution Systems Strengthening Project (ODSSP) for construction of 500 new 33/11KV sub-stations in the State with an investment of Rs 2,600 crore. The project cost was revised to Rs 3,843 crore in November 2017 for 473 sub-stations to develop a robust cyclone and flood resilient system with a target to complete the project by March 2019.

The project envisaged reduction of AT&C loss at the rate of 3 pc per annum with an estimated additional revenue generation of Rs 255 crore per annum. The project also aimed at providing quality and reliable power by upgrading the distribution infrastructure.The State-run Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited (OPTCL), the implementing agency for ODSSP, could complete 356 sub-stations with an expenditure of Rs 3,346 crore by January 21. “Work is incomplete even after the extended timelines due to which objectives of the scheme could not be achieved. At the same time disproportionate expenditure also led to avoidable losses,” the report said.

Contractors who were eligible to construct 100 sub-stations in terms of their experience were awarded 397 sub-stations out of which they could complete only 109 sub-stations till May 2020. As of now 284 sub-stations (out of 397) were completed with a delay ranging from 1 to 55 months. Remaining 113 sub-stations are yet to be completed.Even as 101 sub-stations were charged, they were not handed over to distribution companies (discoms) concerned by March 2019. 

“Since sub-stations were completed but not handed over, the benefit of reliable power supply with appropriate voltage could not be made available to the consumers and funds amounting to Rs 774.20 crore remained blocked,” the audit said.  Scrutiny of records of 121 out of 170 sub-stations handed over to discoms revealed that in 56 sub-stations, the load of transformers remained below 25 pc even after being in operation for more than one year. Improper load forecasting in DPR resulted in installation of higher capacity transformers. This led to extra expenditure of Rs  22.31 crore and excess load loss of Rs 16.01 lakh at 2018-19 tariff level. Such excess load loss contributes to the high AT&C loss. 

POWER PROJECT LAPSES

500 new 33/11KV sub-stations were to be developed by Mar 2019
Only 356 sub-stations completed by January 2021
Even as 101 sub-stations were charged, they were not handed over to discoms concerned by Mar 2019
Scrutiny of records of 121 out of 170 sub-stations handed over to discoms so far revealed that in 56 sub-stations, the load of transformers remained below 25% even after being in operation for over a year



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