Projects worth ₹308.02 billion approved to boost electricity distribution network

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Projects worth ₹308.02 billion (~$4.12 billion) have been approved so far under the Integrated Power Development Program (IPDS), Minister of Energy has said. ‘Energy and New and Renewable Energy, RK Singh, at Rajya Sabha.

The central government launched the IPDS program in 2014 to strengthen sub-transmission and distribution networks in urban areas of the country. The program has also enabled the metering of transformers, feeder lines and consumers in urban areas.

The government also intended to carry out information technology enabling works, enterprise resource planning, smart meters, gas-insulated substations and data acquisition systems in real time with this program.

The Government of India has provided a total grant of ₹193.22 billion (~$2.58 billion) for these projects. Of this amount, it has already disbursed ₹167.17 billion (~$2.23 billion) to states and union territories.

Under this program, the central government will provide a 60% grant for projects to states and 85% for special category states. It will also provide additional funding of 15% for States and 5% for Special Category States for the achievement of milestones.

Central government funding under the Integrated Energy Development Program aims to reduce technical and commercial losses. It also allocated funds for underground cabling and overhead bundled cables and metering, which helped distribution companies balance their costs.

In August 2021, the Minister of Energy, responding to a question from the Rajya Sabha, said that India-wide Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses fell from 23.70% during the FY 2015-2016 to 21.83% in FY 2019-20, a reduction of 2% in five years.

Singh informed the Rajya Sabha that the system reinforcement and distribution projects covering 547 circles in 33 states and union territories have been resumed under the scheme. Out of these 547 circles, works to strengthen the distribution system in 544 circles have been completed.

In July 2021, the Department of Energy issued detailed guidelines for a results-oriented, reform-based electricity distribution program over the next five years.

The program aims to improve the quality and reliability of electricity supply to consumers through a financially viable and operationally efficient distribution sector. The plan is to reduce overall technical and commercial losses across India to 12-15% and eliminate the gap between average supply cost and overall revenue requirement by 2024-25.

Subsequently, the ministry informed that 39 out of 55 electricity distribution companies had submitted their draft proposals under the ₹3.03 trillion (~40.82 billions of dollars). The ministry said that Meghalaya and Assam were the pioneers in planning operational and financial reforms.

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