The Odisha state government will demand an assistance of Rs 800 crore from the Centre under the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme (R-APDRP). The assistance will be sought for three Reliance Infrastructure controlled power distribution companies (discoms), North Eastern Electricity Supply Company of Odisha Ltd (Nesco), Western Electricity Supply Company of Odisha Ltd (Wesco) and Southern Electricity Supply Company of Odisha Ltd (Southco). "We will raise the demand for R-APDRP assistance at the meet of state power ministers going to be held towards the end of this month. The state government will demand Rs 800 crore for Nesco, Wesco and Southco," said state energy minister Pranab Prakash Das.
Das had recently demanded extension of R-APDRP assistance in favour of Nesco, Wesco and Southco.
A senior government official said, "The central power ministry has agreed in principle to provide R-APDRP assistance to the three discoms." The state government, however, would be the prime agency to guarantee proper utilisation of the fund in the interest of consumers. It may be noted that Power Finance Corporation (PFC) recently released Rs 79.21 crore for implementation of the R-APDRP scheme by another distribution firm, Central Electricity Supply Utility (Cesu). The release of funds fulfilled a long-standing demand of the state government which has been clamouring for the Central assistance all these years. But since the electricity distribution business was privatised in the state, the discoms could not avail the funds.
However, Cesu was an exception since the utility is being managed by state power regulator Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC). But the Union power ministry had stipulated a condition that the money provided under R-APDRP will be routed through the state government. The funds released by PFC will be used in operational areas of Cesu covering Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Angul, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Khurda, Jatni, Paradeep, Pattamundai and Talcher.
R-APDRP aims at upgrading the transmission and distribution network, including energy accounting and metering in the urban areas having population of more than 30,000. The state government has identified 12 such towns that meet the criteria. The funding for all these towns has been estimated at Rs 410 crore.
This includes Rs 190 crore receivable from the Centre and the residual Rs 220 crore to be raised by Cesu as counterpart funding. Implementation of the R-APDRP scheme is expected to trim the steep aggregate technical & commercial (AT&C) losses in Odisha. While many states had been able to contain their AT&C losses at 25 per cent by availing assistance under R-APDRP, Odisha is still reeling under high AT&C loss.
Source- Business standard