Discoms must apply for central grants by December 31: Power minister RK Singh

State-run power distribution companies (discoms) will require to apply to the Union power ministry by December 31 to receive the Centre’s assistance under the recently approved Rs 3-lakh-crore revival scheme, power minister RK Singh said on Friday.

As per the design of the scheme, loss-making discoms will have access to the Centre’s funds only after preparing a convincing programme for loss reduction, which has to be approved by the respective state governments.

Under the scheme to be implemented in the five years to FY26, the Centre will fork out Rs 97,631 crore. “Most states assured us that they will submit their proposals before October 31,” the minister said. He added: “We will provide assistance to states for strengthening and modernisation of systems so that distribution management systems, SCADA systems, smart grids and smart meters can be put in place.

This will allow the whole distribution system to be controlled by artificial intelligence.” The idea is to address core issues of billing-collection inefficiencies and pilferage efficiently.

As FE reported earlier, as much as Rs 22,500 crore has been earmarked as the central government grant for the installation of 25 crore smart prepaid meters across the country. The total outlay for smart-metering under the scheme is Rs 1.5 lakh crore, of which the Centre will provide Rs 900 per meter to the discoms, which comes to around 15% of the cost of these devices. States which are able to install smart prepaid meters before December 2023 will also be eligible for an additional incentive of Rs 450 per meter.

The new scheme aims to bring down the aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C) — an indicator of pilferage — to 12-15% by FY25.

financial express
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