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Power Minister Chairs RPM Meeting, Launches Consumer Service Ratings and Powerthon 2024

Addressing stakeholders, Minister Singh acknowledged the significant progress in the power sector.

January 20, 2024. By Abha Rustagi

The Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy, R.K. Singh, chaired the Review Planning & Monitoring (RPM) meeting of the power sector in New Delhi. 

The meeting saw the participation of the Secretary (Power) and Secretary (MNRE) from the Government of India, along with Additional Chief Secretaries, Secretaries, and Principal Secretaries (Power/Energy) from various states, and CMDs of State Power Utilities.

During the event, Minister Singh launched the third edition of the Consumer Service Ratings of DISCOMs, covering the performance of DISCOMs for the fiscal year 2022-23. NPCL (Uttar Pradesh), BRPL (Delhi), BYPL (Delhi), and TPDDL (Delhi) achieved the highest A+ ranking among the 62 rated DISCOMs in the country.

The Minister also unveiled Powerthon 2024, an initiative enabling startups and entrepreneurs with innovative solutions for power DISCOMs to participate in an incubation program. This program, facilitated by established domestic incubators, offers guidance, resources, and nurturing for the development of prototypes.

In addition, the Electricity Distribution Network Planning Criteria formulated by the Central Electricity Authority, covering various aspects of distribution planning processes at the Sub-Transmission and distribution level, including the introduction of smart technologies, was released by the Minister.

Addressing stakeholders, Minister Singh acknowledged the significant progress in the power sector, noting the increase in average daily power supply in rural areas from 12.5 hours per day in 2015-16 to ~21 hours and the improvement in urban areas to 23.8 hours per day from 20 hours in 2015-16. He declared the end of electricity shortages, emphasizing the historic achievements of electrifying 29 million households and reducing AT&C losses from 27 percent in 2014-15 to 15.41 percent in 2023.

However, Minister Singh expressed concern about the increase in the ACS-ARR gap from INR 0.15 per unit to INR 0.45 per unit in the last year. He urged distribution utilities to enhance viability to attract future investments. Emphasizing the importance of a 24x7 reliable power supply, he addressed gratuitous load shedding, stating it is not an option and consumers deserve compensation per rules in case of load shedding.

The Minister highlighted the benefits of agricultural feeder segregation and urged its implementation in mission mode, emphasizing the shift of agricultural load to daylight hours for cheaper power and reduced subsidy burden on State Governments.

Appreciating the states' efforts under the PM-JANMAN mission, Minister Singh stressed the need to increase Roof Top Solar installations and discussed interventions required for simplifying Roof Top Solar installation.

Lastly, Minister Singh emphasized readiness to meet the anticipated increase in demand with the onset of the summer season, suggesting early project completion to address challenges. He urged Regulatory Commissions to adopt realistic/prudent loss reduction trajectories to ensure DISCOM viability and stressed correct subsidy accounting and timely payment by DISCOMs and State Governments.
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