With Power Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu missing in action, Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh held a meeting of the department, ordered a crackdown on power theft to check huge losses suffered by the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), particularly in areas bordering Pakistan and Haryana.
He reviewed the state’s power situation at a time when the demand is at its peak and directed the Chief Secretary to issue detailed guidelines to the district police and civil administration in concerned districts to work with PSPCL to check power theft.
He also asked the Chief Secretary to tie up with the DGP to ensure adequate police protection to PSPCL staff engaged in tackling action against unscrupulous elements engaged in pilferage of power through ‘kundi connections’, a statement said after the meeting.
The PSPCL CMD said those who attended the meeting that the maximum losses on Urban Power Supply (UPS) feeders were reported in the border towns of Bhikiwind (80%), Patti (71%), Zira (61%) followed by Patran (57%), Baghapurana (55%), Tarn Taran (51%) and Ajnala (50%).
The CM also directed the finance department to clear the PSPCL’s mounting subsidy arrears and the department cleared an amount of Rs 200 crore.
The government owes PSPCL Rs 5,000 crore.
Amarinder directed the finance department to ensure timely release of payment to help the power entity operate without problems. He asked the finance department to ensure the release of subsidy payments at regular intervals.
On the tardy supply of coal to thermal power plants in the state, the CM told the PSPCL CMD that he had already taken up the issue with the GoI and requested it to direct Coal India Limited to ensure regular and uninterrupted supply for smooth generation of power in the state.
He asked the CMD to expedite the Shahpur Kandi power project as an alternate source of eco-friendly hydropower generation, which would result in financial benefits of Rs 250-300 crore per year to PSPCL.
What else was discussed:
– Total power demand in the state had gone up by 17.78% in June and had further escalated to 33.31% as of date, compared with corresponding periods last year
– This increase power demand was due to prolonged dry spell and delayed monsoon
– There was also a substantial increase of 37% in demand for power consumption in the agriculture sector, primarily due to the advancement of paddy sowing by 10 days
– The maximum demand in 2019-20 was 13,633 MW as compared to last year’s demand of 12,638 MW
– An all-time record 2268 million units (MUs) surplus energy was sold outside the state through exchange and tenders during 2018-19
– The state had been selling power J&K, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, under the arrangement of banking of power
– Punjab had been ranked no.1 in terms of consumers making e-payments
– As per Urja India.co.in — a portal of the Ministry of Power, GoI (December 2018 to April 2019), PSPCL recorded the highest ever revenue of Rs 12,742 crore through digital modes from April 2018 to March 2019 (50.25% of the total collection of Rs 25,357 crore)