Benefits from a Fair and Accurate Assessment Power Distribution
Union Minister of Power, New and Renewable Energy, R.K. Singh released 9th Integrated Ratings for State Power Distribution Utilities on July 16 at the national capital.
The Minister appreciated that the Ninth Annual Integrated Rating exercise covering 41 State Power Distribution Utilities for the rating period FY 2019-20 has been completed with the enthusiastic participation of all the utilities.
He congratulated all stakeholders, especially the state distribution utilities for their active role and support in successfully completing the Ninth Annual Integrated rating exercise despite the ongoing pandemic.
He added that the Indian Power sector will beneﬁt from a fair and accurate assessment of the true position of the distribution sector which in turn will help in assessing and improving its performance. This will also assist State Governments, lending institutions and other stakeholders to take important decisions.
The Minister also congratulated Power Finance Corporation(PFC) on completing 35 glorious years of formation. He said that over the period, PFC has become a leading NBFC and a key player in financing of the Indian Power sector. He added that PFC will be an instrumental strategic partner in government reform schemes for power sector such as Rs. 3 trillion ‘Reforms-based and Results-linked, Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme’, Atmanirbhar DISCOM package, etc.
He appreciated PFC for being on a path of rapid development & growth. He wished that PFC’s legacy continues and inspires all the stakeholders in the power sector.
Singh further spoke about achieving the target of One Nation-One Grid- One Frequency with the addition of Transmission Lines of 1.52 lakh cKm. Going beyond infrastructure creation and bridging supply side gaps, the Government has also focused on consumer empowerment. He further added that the recently notified “Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020” is a step in this direction. This major initiative will put consumer at the center-stage, and is an important step towards improving Ease of Living and Ease of Doing Business across the country.
Singh further said that a strong and efficient power distribution sector is the key to the performance and viability of the power sector and the State Power Sector entities play a pivotal role in power distribution in India. He added that Government of India is supporting States for strengthening the Distribution system necessary for providing 24×7 power supply to all households through DDUGJY & IPDS.
The Minister pointed out that India had achieved universal access by connecting every village and every hamlet under Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana Scheme and connecting every household under Saubhagya Scheme. It was the fastest and the largest expansion of access in the world. This had also resulted in the demand for electricity going up rapidly.
Singh informed that as a part of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, Government is supporting the power sector through liquidity infusion to enable the sector to maintain power supplies, in the challenging aftermath of pandemic.
A Reforms-based and Results-linked, Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme has recently been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs with an aim to improve the operational efficiencies and financial sustainability of all State DISCOMs/ Power Department in this regard.
The Scheme envisages providing financial assistance to DISCOMs for strengthening and modernizing the supply infrastructure. States may access funds under the scheme for strengthening their Distribution systems. Where the Distribution Companies are in losses, the States will be able to draw funds under the scheme only if they institute measures to reduce these losses. Therefore, the funding is reforms linked. There has already been improvement in the performance of DISCOMs. This scheme will take the improvements further , the Minster added.
It may be noted that the Integrated Rating exercise is carried out on an annual basis since 2012 as per the methodology approved by Ministry of Power. The exercise presently covers 41 States distribution utilities spread across 22 States. ICRA and CARE are the designated credit rating agencies.
The Ninth Integrated Ratings have been carried out by ICRA Analytics Limited (IAL) & CARE Advisory Research & Training Limited (CART), the consulting arms of ICRA ratings and CARE respectively. Power Ministry has mandated Power Finance Corporation (PFC) to co-ordinate with the utilities, rating agencies & MoP during the rating exercise.