Mumbai: Maharashtra Minister of Energy Nitin Raut has formed a working group headed by the energy secretary to recommend steps to reduce losses in generation, distribution and transmission, increase revenue collection, clear arrears from mainly agriculture consumers, and improve the efficiency in the power sector.
Raut told FPJ that the losses in transmission, distribution and generation plants of the state generation company are high and they need to be brought down. There is also need to increase plant load factor of the generation plants.
"Arrears from the agriculture consumers alone are over Rs 22,000 crore. After taking into account penalty and penal interest rate, it is around Rs 35,000 crore.
The state-run Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MahaVitaran) is struggling to cope up with the situation. Therefore, it has been instructed to step up recovery and also increase monthly revenue collection. There is a financial constraint, and improvement in revenue collection is must for its revival,’’ he noted.
Raut said that the MahaVitaran will take a call on providing free power to consumers with monthly consumption up to 100 units after the recommendations by the working group. Its implementation solely depends on the improvement in financial condition of the MahaVitaran.
Raut said that MahaVitaran, in a bid to promote payment culture among agriculture consumers, may launch a drive, whereby if the consumer pays monthly bills regularly, he may be given concession in the next month’s bill.
Sources said the MahaVitaran will have to cough up at least Rs 7,100 crore annually to provide free power to consumers up to 100 units.
Moreover, Raut said that the MahaVitaran may have to take loan to make payments to private generators like Adani Power. MahaVitaran has to pay Rs 3,000 crore to Adani Power towards power purchase; but for want of money, it has not been done.
He said that the state government proposes to increase subsidy given to MahaVitaran to Rs 1,500 crore from Rs 1,000 crore to provide power supply to industrial consumers in the underdeveloped Vidarbha and Marathwada.