New Delhi: People in Himatnagar area in Gujarat get the most uninterrupted power supply in the country, while residents of Mankachar in Assam grapple with an average 188 instances of power cuts a month.
According to Urban Jyoti Abhiyaan or Urja, the power ministry’s application tracking service delivery to consumers in towns across the country, Kerala, Maharashtra and Rajasthan top the list in supplying uninterrupted power, while Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Assam have a lot to catch up.
The Urja application meant to bring transparency in the performance of utilities and states captures the stark contrast in how consumers are served in different parts of the country.
Data up to the town level on parameters like the number of power cuts in a month, the duration, severity of power theft and pending consumer complaints and connection requests put pressure on states to improve service delivery at the last mile of the electricity value chain.
In Maharashtra and Gujarat, power supply is disrupted for only up to three hours on an average in a month, while the average monthly power outage duration in Haryana is a crippling 48 hours. Data at town level is captured to compute the state average.
Bhavnagar in Gujarat and Erandol, a town in Jalgaon district in Maharashtra, have the least power outages of 0.16 hours in a month, while it is 253 hours in Karimganj in Assam.
Andhra Pradesh has reported the least amount of power theft, while it is the highest in Uttar Pradesh. There were no pending requests for power connection in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Sikkim and Tripura in March 2017, while 84% of requests were pending in Goa in the same month.
Utility performance varies across states as power distribution is often influenced by political considerations that prevent tough reform measures relating to pricing and power theft which in turn affect utilities’ ability to invest further in technology to boost efficiency and service quality.
Union power minister Piyush Goyal is set to launch a related application ‘Urja Mitra’ on Tuesday allowing utilities to inform consumers about power outages. A rural feeder monitoring scheme, also to be launched on Tuesday, will track the quality of power supply in rural areas.
State-power utilities are at present going through a debt restructure and turnaround scheme which involves reducing power theft and eliminating the gap between their average cost of power supply and the average revenue realized.
State governments, which took over three-fourths of the accumulated debt of distribution companies, are keeping a close watch on the performance milestones.
According to Sambitosh Mohapatra, partner, energy utilities and mining, PwC India, as the demand for power picks up and the gap between cost of service to revenue realised is bridged, many utilities will become profitable in the next two-three years.
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