Unlike having long wish lists for the Budget, the power distribution companies have urged the government to implement existing schemes in letter and spirit to strengthen the electricity sector.
“The existing schemes like UDAY, IPDS and DDUGJY are very good schemes. These should be implemented in letter and spirit to achieve desired objectives,” India Smart Grid Forum President Reji Kumar Pillai said after press briefing on India Smart Grid Forum Week scheduled for March 15-19.
He said, “We are not expecting any thing for power distribution or transmission segment in this Budget… may be next year once these schemes are implemented fully, we may ask for something from the government.”
Under Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) launched last year, the states will take over 75% of discoms accumulated debt as on September 30, and issue bonds to pay the creditors.
The remaining debt will be paid through raising money by the discoms through bonds issued by them and guaranteed by the state governments.
The total accumulated debt of discoms in the country stands at over Rs 4.37 lakh crore. At present, six states including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have subscribed to the scheme, covering 35 per cent of the total debt.
Under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna (DDUGJY), the Centre wants to electrify all the villages through grid connected and off-grid solutions. Besides, it envisages separation of non-agriculture and agriculture feeders facilitating judicious rostering of electricity supply.
Similarly, with an outlay of over Rs 32,000 crore for Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), the government has envisaged sub-transmission and distribution networks in urban areas and information technology enablement of power distribution sector.
“Centre is running very good scheme for distribution companies. We have written to Power Ministry as well as Delhi Government for subscription of UDAY scheme,” Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd CEO and Managing Director Praveer Sinha told reporter on the sidelines of the event.
He said, “Delhi discoms have an accumulated debt of over Rs 20,000 crore. If our interest cost comes down by 4-5% after subscribing UDAY then there will an interest saving of Rs 1,000 crore every year.”
On the slow take off of rooftop solar in Delhi he said, “A state policy on renewable energy is awaited, which will deal with the issue of 5% electricity tax to be paid by customers generating power and feeding to the grid. Similarly they are required to pay VAT on solar panels.”