“The development of any state depends to a large extent on availability and usage of electricity. Haryana is one of the fastest growing States in the country and we are making efforts to ensure that there is regular electricity supply for all,” says Devender Singh
Today consumption of electricity is rising in all parts of the country. Please tell us about the initiatives that are being undertaken to ensure that people in Haryana have access to round the clock electricity? The vision of the department is to create the necessary infrastructure for providing reliable and uninterrupted supply of power to all categories of consumers at optimum price. We are working to bring lot of improvement in our infrastructure to cater to the load growth that is taking place in rural, urban and Industrial commercial segments. The focus has to be not only on arranging the much needed supply of electricity, but also to provide adequate infrastructure for evacuating the power. We have prepared an integrated plan for next three years where depending on the load growth projections for various categories of consumers, we have planned the infrastructure augmentation that needs to be done. We have tied up with various resources of funding ranging from international funding and domestic financial institutions. Close to Rs 8000 crore of investment will take place during Haryana’s electricity sector during the next three years. This investment will help us in developing infrastructure for ensuring that there is an effective system in place for evacuating the power that is generated. Our ultimate aim is to give consumers high quality round the clock power.
What are the sources from which you are procuring the electricity for supply in Haryana?
The state has its own power generation company; this is the Haryana Power Generation Corporation Ltd (HPGCL). HPGCL came into existence on August 14, 1998, for bringing excellence in power generation in the State‘s own generating stations. In addition, it has been entrusted with the responsibility of setting up of new generating stations in order to keep pace with the ever increasing demand of power. The Corporation has an ambitious plan to add sufficient generating capacity in the State in order to bridge the gap between demand and supply. Two Units of 300MW each were commissioned during FY 2008-09 at Deenbandhu Chhotu Ram Thermal Power Plant at Yamuna Nagar. The two Units of 600MW capacity each at Rajiv Gandhi Thermal Power Plant, Khedar, Hisar, were commissioned in a record period of 43 and 49 months respectively. The Haryana Power Generation Corporation Ltd. (HPGCL) has embarked on a mission to establish itself as a modern, growth oriented organization and to make its presence felt in the country’s dynamic power sector. We also source power from other companies to take care of the State’s needs.
With the existing infrastructure how much electricity are you able to provide in the state? What is the level of power cuts in the urban and rural areas?
In urban industrial areas, we are providing 23-24 hours electricity, barring a few interruptions. In rural areas we are, as of now, providing 14 hours of electricity, on an average. But we have launched a scheme under which we will be asking people in rural areas to start having their electricity meters on the pillar boxes. Those who opt for having meter in pillar boxes can have 24 hour supply of electricity. We have tried this scheme in Punjab, where the level of distribution losses came down significantly once the meters were placed on the pillar boxes. As currently the meters are installed inside the premises of the consumers, it makes it easier for tampering or theft to take place. Once the electricity meters are installed on pillar boxes, tampering will become almost impossible, and the consumers will be very careful in their use of electricity. There will be less wastage and the consumption level might even go down. Our objective through this scheme is to incentivise the rural population to use meter boxes and have their electricity consumption billed accurately. Anybody who agrees to have his meter placed in pillar boxes is eligible for a discount of 10 percent on their overall bill, and those who pay their bill on time get another discount of 10 percent.
Please tell us about the status of some of the major Power Plants in your state?
The power stations at Panipat and Yamunanagar and Hisar are giving excellent performance and have broken all previous records of efficient generation. We have an ambitious plan to add sufficient generating capacity in the State in order to bridge the gap between demand and supply. Two units of 600 MW capacity each were commissioned by HPGCL in a record time at Rajiv Gandhi Thermal Power Plant, Khedar, Hisar Additional 660MW Unit with Supercritical Technology is being set up at Yamuna Nagar, as an expansion of the existing coal based 2×300 MW DCRTPP Yamunanagar. The Corporation is also coordinating the activities of 1500MW Project at Jhajjar which is being developed as a Joint Venture between NTPC, Government of Haryana, and Government of Delhi. Then there is the 1320 MW Coal based Thermal Power Plant at Jhajjar which is being developed by CLP Power India Limited. Also I would like to point out that today the discoms have been told that they have to procure power through a competitive bidding process. So the State can also procure power from outside, if it is of optimal cost. Transmission losses are quite high in the country. The R-APDRP Scheme has also been launched to curb such losses.
What’s the state of the implementation of R-APDRP in Haryana?
The R-APDRP scheme is progressing at a healthy pace; it is expected to get completed by May 2014. We review the progress of the project every month. Projects under the R-APDRP scheme are being taken up in two parts. Part-A includes the projects for establishment of baseline data and IT applications for energy accounting/auditing & IT based consumer service centres. Part-B includes regular distribution strengthening projects. The scheme is proposed to cover urban areas – towns and cities with population of more than 30,000 (10,000 in case of special category states). In addition, in certain high-load density rural areas with significant loads, works of separation of agricultural feeders from domestic and industrial ones, and of High Voltage Distribution System (11kV) will also be taken up.
What are the major reasons for loss of electricity in the rural areas?
The most common case of loss is that the consumption of electricity is not properly metered. At times there is the outright theft of electricity, as people use these kundi connections. We regularly send our teams to detect such cases of electricity theft. We are also encouraging the villagers to regularise their Kundi-Connections so we do launch campaigns. Secondly the meters that are used either they are defective or the build energy is not properly recorded so there might be tam tampering of the meter. Sometimes the meters are bypassed which means the exact energy which is utilised or consumed is not recorded so these are the two reasons. So we are trying to tackle these issues by first trying to shift the meter outside under lock and key so that the exact consumption takes place. We are also trying to provide electricity through cables so that the opportunity of hooking is not be there.
Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) has been launched for enabling the remote villages to have access to electricity. What is the state of implementation of this project in Haryana? RGGVY is basically meant for the electrification of the un-electrified villages. It is also meant to enable intensive electrification in states where some amount of electrification has already been undertaken. Under RGGVY, electricity distribution infrastructure is envisaged to establish Rural Electricity Distribution Backbone (REDB) with at least one 33/11KV sub-station in a block, Village Electrification Infrastructure (VEI) with at least a Distribution Transformer in a village or hamlet, and standalone grids with generation where grid supply is not feasible. Subsidy towards capital expenditure to the tune of 90 percent is being provided, through Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC), which is the nodal agency for implementation of the scheme. Electrification of un-electrified Below Poverty Line (BPL) households is being financed with 100 percent capital subsidy. More than 90 percent percent of the money which we got under Rajiv Gandhi in the 10th and 11th Five Year Plan have been utilized and the BPL connections have already been provided.
Your department has been taking measures to install smart meters for accurately measuring the electricity consumption of consumers. Please tell us about this project.
I strongly believe that the use of Information and Communication Technology is very crucial in the electricity sector, especially in the distribution sector. A total of only 3 percent of our consumers consume 65 percent of the total energy in the state, so any measure to check electricity losses will have to concentrate on this category of high-consumers. Manual meter reading and billing are the major sources of revenue leakage. Measures are being taken to completely eliminate manual intervention in meter reading in case of high-consumers of electricity. The system for automatic meter reading (AMR), billing and regular data analysis is being introduced in phases. In case of AMR, there is no human intervention and it is possible to have a close watch on the electricity consumption. It also ensures accurate billing. For consumers above 10-Kw of connected load, automatic meter reading (AMR) has been initiated. For the other consumers below 10-Kw load, meters with optical port, facilitating reading through CMRI, are being procured so as to eliminate manual meter reading and plug revenue leakage. Remote reading through data concentrator units is also being planned.