POWER CRISIS: J&K’s AT&C losses continue to remain highest in country
Whopping sums expended to bring it down have yielded precious little!
Srinagar: Despite pumping in thousands of crores of rupees to revamp its power distribution infrastructure, J&K continues to top in Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses at 60 percent, the highest in entire India.
In simple terms, Jammu and Kashmir is suffering a huge gap in the energy it puts into the system and the revenue (payment) it collects for this energy.
AT&C losses are the technical loss, the theft, inefficiency in billing and inadequacy in realization of revenues.
According to the data by the Ministry of Power, Government of India, the former state had 60.46 percent AT&C losses in 2019-20. The losses are highest in entire India where the average losses in this category are 22 percent.
Over the years thousands of crores of rupees have been spent in overhauling the transmission and destruction infrastructure besides taking to technical up-gradation by the J&K Power Developed Department. The end results are however appalling, reveals the data accessed by this newspaper.
In 2008, the then state embarked up on a Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP) with Rs 872.36 crore aimed at strengthening and up-gradation of sub-transmission and distribution network and adoption of Information Technology.
The ambitious programme targeted at reducing the losses to three percent per annum and bringing them to 15 percent within five years.
In 2011, Rs 1700 crores were sanctioned for bettering the system in 30 towns and cities under the programme. “The financial support has been squandered,” say the sources.
Dysfunctional meters worth crores of rupees were purchased under the scheme and dumped later on, say the sources. They also speak of corruption in purchase of other materials and supplies under the multi-crore projects.
Even with a huge financial input, the revamp and modernization of the electricity distribution system is not visible. The target of 100 percent metering of domestic consumers has also not been met, say the sources adding that there are thousands of unregistered consumers using electricity in connivance with the PDD officials.
The money for infrastructure and technical up-gradation has been “flowing like water under a bridge”.
Rs 617 crores were approved by the central government in 2015-16 under Deendayal Upadhaya Gram Jyoti Yojana. The money had been granted for strengthening and augmenting the sub-transmission and distribution infrastructure in rural areas.
Likewise, sub-stations were to be created at 33/11 kV, 11/.433 kV levels, besides extension of HT Lines and AB cables under the Integrated Power Development Scheme at a cost of Rs 242 crores.
Rs 966 crores were also provided under the Prime Minister’s Development Plan for rural and urban areas. The money had been allocated for creation of new 33/11 kV sub-staions, augmentation of existing sub-stations, extensions of HT and LT lines and capacity at distribution level.
But the ground situation is that a mesh of decayed electric wires and poles dangle over the heads everywhere in the towns and the villages and the average power supply continues to be dismal in the chilling winters.
In 2015, Rs 513 crores had been allocated under the Prime Minister’s Development Plan for strengthening of supply infrastructure, creating new 33/11 kV sub-stations and augmenting existing sub-stations under the plan. But the addition of capacity at distribution level is yet to be achieved.
Admitting of the inadequacy in the infrastructure capacity building, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sina recently said that his administration wanted to purchase more power to meet the demand in the current cold winter.
“But the UT’s transmission and distribution systems have a limited capacity of carrying electricity,” he said.
The huge budgetary support seems to have gone into a bottomless pit and J&K’s AT&C losses instead of scaling down have upped by nearly two percent since 2015-16.
Rashid Paul is Associate Editor at Kashmir Images.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org