Wednesday, Sep 25, 2002
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By Jaideep Shenoy
However, restructuring or modernising distribution and sub-transmission systems under the Accelerated Power Development Reforms Programme (APDRP) needs heavy investment. The aim of the APDRP is to make the utilities commercially viable and provide better and reliable services to consumers.
Twenty-five per cent of the funds needed for the programme comes as grant from the Centre, another 25 per cent as a 20-year loan to the respective State governments with a moratorium of five years on repayment.
The power utilities should raise the remaining amount by way of internal mobilisation of funds or loans from the Power Finance Corporation or the Rural Electrification Corporation.
The KPTCL has taken the lead in modernising its distribution and sub-transmission systems. One of the important steps under it is metering of all power installations, including those used by the agriculture sector, for effective energy auditing. This step is aimed at calculating the loss due to power theft, especially in urban pockets.
Giving details of the APDRP, M. Muniswamy, Chief Engineer of the Power Finance Corporation (Rural Electrification Zone), who is the nodal officer for all APDRP schemes in the State, told The Hindu that the State aimed at submitting projects worth Rs. 1,000 crore to the Centre this financial year. The Union Power Ministry had approved projects worth Rs. 440 crore till the end of August.
He said projects worth Rs. 710 crore, including a Rs. 350-crore exclusive package for the Bangalore Circle, had been submitted to the Centre for approval. The Centre had released Rs. 114.5 crore to the State during 2000-2001 of which Rs. 88 crore had been spent. For 2001-2002, the State submitted projects worth Rs. 360 crore.
Mr. Muniswamy pointed out that the long-term objectives of the APDRP was to address the staggering problem of transmission and distribution losses, currently put at 34 per cent in the State.
He noted that the major reason for the losses was India's reliance on 220-kV lines for power transmission unlike other countries, including China, which used 11-kV lines and a decentralised distribution system instead of a grid. The geographical disparity in Karnataka with relation to the area where power was generated and supplied too was a factor.
He said a major incentive to power utilities under the APDRP, which was given by the Power Ministry, was in the form of a grant for the portion of reduction in their operational costs in two consecutive years. He said under this criterion, the State was entitled to receive Rs. 197 crore for reduction in costs during 2001-2002 and the previous year.
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