Reported by Sandeep Pattnaik
Bhubaneswar, May 2:
The distribution companies [discoms] in Odisha have failed to bring down the T&D losses in the power sector in Odisha, which is still hovering above 35%. Instead, they are hiding their own deficiencies in providing smooth power supply to the consumers citing weak infrastructure and thereby, passing the buck to the Energy department, sources in the state government revealed.
Lack of efforts and investments in the strengthening of infrastructure and inability to reduce transmission and distribution [T&D] losses on the part of distribution companies [discoms] has seriously undermined the state’s much touted power sector reforms that started way back in 1999.
The present T&D loss is hovering above 35% and the discoms CESU, WESCO, NESCO and SOUTHCO have not been able to contain this so far.
To revive the four discoms and to make good their losses arising out of the T&D of power, the state government has provided these companies with around Rs 500 crore from World Bank in the past. But the discoms were neither able to reduce their losses by utilizing the funds nor have returned the full amount to the government so far.
Even, the three discoms [WESCO, NESCO and SOUTHCO], out of the total four, collectively owe GRIDCO around Rs 2800 crore at present towards power purchase, despite the fact they have have been collecting money regularly from the consumers towards power tariff, officials in the Energy department said.
It is to be noted that, the Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Energy which acquired 51% stake in WESCO, NESCO and SOUTHCO for about Rs 117 crore, has not invested a single penny for strengthening of infrastructure in the power sector in the state.
Similarly, the US- based AES fled the state within a short period after taking over management control of CESU for Rs 42 crore without investing a rupee in infrastructure development in the beleaguered sector.
Instead of owning up, the Discoms have all along adopted an escapist attitude by putting the onus on the Energy department for the frequent power-cut and low voltage problem in the summer, officials in the government said.
According to Principal Secretary, Energy P K Jena, while the state requires between 3200 and 3800 MW daily, the government is ready to provide 4200 MW of power, with hydro-power contributing the lion’s share. There is no reason why there will be any disruption in power supply in the state during summer, Jena said.