Almost half of the power(electricity) produced in this country goes waste and fetches no money to the government. There are two factors responsible for this:
- Technical Losses
- Commercial Losses.
Firstly, the power distribution system of the country is so junk that a large chunk of the power that is transmitted gets lost on the way. Over the years, we have relentlessly focussed on increasing the production of our power units and establishing power units, but little has been done to reduce these transmission losses, making electricity dearer for the govt. As well as people.
Secondly, an average Indian citizen loves to get things for free. Why not electricity? In certain parts of the country, power theft is so widespread, that almost half the power being produced is being stolen, leading to exaggerating losses for the power production and distribution companies. This is particularly the case where these power companies are government owned. And what does the government do to make up for these losses? The whole burden again comes on the honest taxpayer.
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Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS)
The “Integrated Power Development Scheme” (IPDS) is a scheme launched by the Ministry of Power, Government of India, with an objective of plugging in the gaps and irregularities in the power transmission and submission networks, particularly in the urban areas of India. Subsequently, the government aims to bring down staggering figures of AT&C losses and put in place an IT-enabled energy accounting/auditing system, improvement in billed energy based on metered consumption and improvement in collection efficiency.
– Know AT&C Losses
AT&C losses are a major cause of worry for any power production company, be it government or private owned. Abbreviated for ‘Aggregated Technical & Commercial’ Losses, AT&C represents the entire wasteful expenditure, which in other words is a loss, of these companies. In even simpler words, it amounts to the sum total of the power being lost (due to technical shortcomings), and the power being stolen (by the citizens).
The Need for the Scheme
The AT&C losses statistics in India are alarmingly high. One of the highest in the world. According to government’s own data, the figure touches as much as 61% in J&K and well over 50% in some other states of India (2014-15). Though the figure is that high only in certain states, which are remote and underdeveloped, but still, at least 20% of the total power gets wasted in the AT&C losses in any given state of India. There felt was the need to have a dedicated scheme to plug in these losses and increase the revenue of the states, as well increase the power availability for the consumers.
Objectives of the IPDS Scheme
The three main objectives of the IPDS scheme have been clearly laid out to be:
- Strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network in the urban areas.
The current power transmission and distribution network in some states is in ruins and needs a major revamp. The network at other places is damaged, downgraded or old, and is not working at its full efficiency. The strengthening of the current system in place is very important to bring down the average power losses of the country.
- Metering of distribution transformers /feeders/consumers in the urban areas.
It is also a matter of fact that there are widespread cases of tampering with the electricity meters, throughout the country. In fact, the consumption is not being measured at many places, and irregularities in readings are present everywhere. Putting in place a reliable system, with proper metering and reading of the consumption of users is the need of the hour.
- IT enablement of distribution sector and strengthening of the distribution network.
At a time when all the inbound as well outbound services of the government are being digitized by making use of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enabled services, it’s important that the operations of the power sector are also computerized. This will make it easier to track the distribution and consumption patterns of the power being produced in the country.
Activities to be Carried Out under the IPDS
Strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network.
- Renovation and Modernization of existing substations and lines.
- Installation of new distribution transformers.
- Creation of new substations.
- Aerial Bunched Cables in theft prone areas.
- High Voltage Distribution Systems
- Installation of static meters for feeders, distribution transformers and all categories of customers.
- Replacement of faulty and electro-mechanical meters.
- Relocation of meters outside customers’ premises.
- IT enablement of distribution sector and strengthening of distribution network
- Establishment of national Power Distribution Hub
- Completion of Optical Fibre missing links.
- Training and Capacity Building.
- Provisioning of Solar Panels.
Outcomes of the IPDS Scheme
- The scheme is expected to bring down the current figures of AT&C losses significantly. The exact drop in the losses will vary with respect to the factors like scale and size of the state distribution network, infrastructure already in place, and the kind of projects being carried out under the scheme, in the context of the individual distribution networks.
- A robust IT enabled software support for the power production and distribution companies, as well as the consumers, will also be in place by the end of the scheme. This will help in better tracking and auditing of the power production and consumption statistics. Together, the improvised distribution networks and IT-enabled system support will keep a check on the technical as well as commercial loss of power, making the state power co-operations profitable.
- The reduction in technical loss of power will increase the quantity of power available for consumption, thus reducing the power crises of many states.
- The reduction in power thefts will increase the revenue of the power companies, thus bringing down the taxes and reducing the burden on the honest citizens of India.
The scheme is an attempt to shift the focus of the power sector from scaling up establishing new production units (and burn enormous amounts of coal), to trap the losses of the power already available, and drive it to the consumers to make India a power surplus nation.