Power utility improves ranking in Punjab - ECAS Punjab

Power utility improves ranking in Punjab

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Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 6

Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has improved its last year's ratings and is now covered under A-plus grade in the 2018-19 annual ranking for high operational and financial performance capabilities.

Subsidy To Farmers A Drag

  • Punjab is now placed sixth across the country and has improved a little in terms of past two years' performance. Last year, Punjab was placed at ninth position.
  • Since 2012, the power utilities are evaluated on operational, financial, regulatory and reform parameters. Ratings highlight where electricity distribution sector needs to improve.

Punjab is now placed sixth across the country and has improved a little in terms of past two years' performance. Gujarat discoms retained their top position. The report, released by the Union Minister of State for Power at the power ministers' conference, assessed 41 power utilities. Last year, Punjab was placed at the ninth position.

Since 2012, the utilities are evaluated on operational, financial, regulatory, and reform parameters; and the ratings highlight where the electricity distribution sector needs to improve. From being ranked at the top in 2015, the PSPCL has been slipping down the ranking system following many key factors.

The key concerns of the PSPCL are its absolute dependence on the state government for subsidy being given in lieu of free power to agricultural sector and the delay in the reception of subsidy, besides high salary bill. The ministry gives scores for financial performance, audited accounts, cross subsidy, reforms, regulatory environment, and forward-looking parameters. The PSPCL was placed 5th in 2016 but its grade dropped to 11th in 2018 and 13th in 2017 in the nationwide integrated rating for state power distribution.

In its report, the ministry has red-flagged several issues, including high employee cost, higher fuel and power purchase costs. "Absolute subsidy dependence for the state as a whole remains high, given the subsidised nature of tariff, particularly towards agriculture consumers," the report says. Despite the "power-surplus" tag, the state is paying about Rs 3,000 crore per annum as fixed charges to private thermal plants and supplying power at high rates to its own consumers.

The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has been informing the state government from 2013 onwards that the PSPCL is inflating the figures of electricity supplied to agricultural consumers (tubewells) by 5-10 per cent.



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