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The Union power ministry has asked states to slash electricity losses due to theft and technical reasons to below 10% within six months, an ambitious target given that some towns in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar lose up to 90% of power.
The target was put before the states in a review, planning and monitoring meeting held on July 22 by Union power minister Piyush Goyal with power secretaries of states.
About 4,041 towns are being targeted under the proposal, officials said. Cities such as Ahmedabad and Visakhapatnam would find it easier to meet the target since they lose close to 10% power due to theft and technical reasons, but the move is being resisted by states such as Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where pilferage and technical problems are a huge challenge.
A senior government official said while the physical and commercial losses can be curbed by the state-owned discoms by raising billing-collection efficiency and curbing power thefts, the technical losses would require substantial investments in technology upgradation.
He said the Centre is supporting the technology upgradation in distribution sector through the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) for strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution networks in the urban areas, metering of distribution transformers, feeders, consumers in the urban areas and IT enablement of distribution sector.
Data available on the Centre’s Urja-India app showed that there are 201 towns where the percentage of power loss and thefts is below 10%. Another 200 towns faced power losses of 1o-15% while there were about 220 towns that had losses in the range of 15-20%. About 200 towns faced losses in the range of 40-90%.
The power ministry last week said that the national aggregate technical and commercial losses in states reduced to 20% in 2016-17 from 21% in FY16, 25% in FY15, and 23% in FY14.
The states participating in the scheme and performing as per operational milestones in the memorandums of understanding are proposed to be given additional funding through Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, IPDS, Power Sector Development Fund and other such schemes.
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