Standard formula for power data to end manipulation by states
The government will soon standardise ways to foolproof the power sector of data manipulation by states.
Come April and all states will calculate commercial losses — gap between cost and revenue on a standardised formula — while the data on the power supply position and billing efficiency will be sourced directly from electricity feeders without manual intervention. This will limit the scope of data manipulation by states.
Experts say such measures will help bring transparency to the power sector that grapples with mistrust on data provided by states. At present, state distribution companies calculate the gap between their average cost of supply and average revenue realisation based on their own formulae. A senior government official said states do not follow standard procedures in calculation of losses. While some states calculate losses on the basis of energy fed into the system, some do it on the basis of energy sold to consumers.
Some states take subsidies into account while calculating subsidies while others do not. “We have prepared a standard formula for calculation of losses. The report has been sent to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), which will communicate it to states,” the official said.
Currently, CEA collates data from states and drafts periodic reports. But there have been several instances of a state presenting different data to the CEA, electricity regulators and other forums. The power ministry is bound to accept the data given the country’s federal structure. The power ministry will next month also launch a web portal called National Power Portal and a mobile application connecting all 110,000 electricity feeders — equipment that links consumers to substations — in the country.
The ministry has already connected and made 25,000 urban feeders live for energy auditing. “As data is completely automated, we’ll be able to conduct audits and ascertain the hours of energy supply and level of commercial and technical losses at feeder level in each state,” said the official. There have been instances of states fudging data to show zero power deficit, especially during elections. The official said once the national power portal and standardised formula are put in place, data collected from states on performance of the discom debt restructuring scheme, Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojna (UDAY), can be also be verified.
Data shared by states show that states like Jharkhand, Goa, Gujarat and Puducherry have been able to reduce technical losses. Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have also significantly reduced the gap between revenue and cost. Besides measures like curbing thefts, energy conservation and regular tariff petitions, power distribution companies are introducing innovative schemes to reduce losses.
Power distribution companies of Bihar have implemented a billing software and started spot billing through mobile application. The Haryana government has announced Mhara Gaon-Jagmag Gaon scheme to provide 24-hour power supply in rural areas.
If the village pays bills to the extent of 90%, the electricity supply to the village is increased from 18 to 21 hours. In Bithur village in Rajasthan, women have been engaged to curb transmission and distribution losses. Manipur has taken up installation of prepaid meters to reduce outstanding debts, energy theft and improve billing efficiency.