Parl panel pulls up Power Ministry for 'laggard approach' in smart meters installation

New Delhi, Mar 21 (IANS): A Parliamentary panel has pulled up the Power Ministry for poor implementation of the Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS), under which 25 crore smart meters are to be installed by 2025-26.

In its report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy noted that that so far only 70 lakh smart meters have been installed, and out of this, only 10 lakh are pre-paid meters.

"Considering the present pace of installation of smart meters, the target of installation of 25 crore smart meters by the year 2025 seems to be a herculean task," it said.

The committee has also recommended that the Power Ministry closely monitor progress of the work related to installation of smart meters and take prompt remedial action on the related issues so that targets set in this regard are achieved without any delay.

It also asked the ministry to ensure that there is no constraint in the supply of technologically updated and good quality smart meters in the country.

Under the RDSS scheme, 25 crore smart meters at consumer and feeder level are to installed between 2021-22 and 2025-26 through Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) mode under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.

The scheme also aims to reduce the aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses to pan-India levels of 12-15 per cent and average cost of supply (ACS)-average revenue realised (ARR) gap to zero by 2024-25.

On AT&C losses, the panel noted that there are 10 states where such losses, instead of decreasing, have rather increased during the last five years.

In Maharashtra, the AT&C losses which were 14.38 per cent in 2017-18 have jumped to 26.55 per cent in 2020-21, it noted.

Similarly, Chandigarh was having only 4 per cent AT&C losses in 2017-18 but these increased to 11.89 per cent in 2020-21.

In Nagaland and Jammu & Kashmir, AT&C losses are as high as 60 per cent, the panel observed.

"These figures do not augur well for the aim of the Government to contain AT&C losses in the country to the level of 12-15 per cent. The committee, therefore, desire that the Power Ministry should urgently find out the reasons for the increase in AT&C losses in these states and help the concerned states and distribution companies to make customised plans to arrest deterioration of the condition," the panel directed.



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Title: Parl panel pulls up Power Ministry for 'laggard approach' in smart meters installation

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