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PCL promises Centre the moon

THE UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) bosses seem to have found a magic wand to rid the ailing power sector of recurring losses. In just over two-six months, they intend to achieve what others could not during the last six years of power reforms.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2006 01:16 IST

THE UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) bosses seem to have found a magic wand to rid the ailing power sector of recurring losses.

In just over two-six months, they intend to achieve what others could not during the last six years of power reforms.

Pulled up again and again for their failure to reduce aggregated technical and commercial (ATC) losses, UPPCL officials recently made rather unrealistic promises to the Centre. It was an attempt to ensure that the Centre did not stop funding power projects in the State. They made the commitments during a meeting called by Union power secretary RV Shahi in Delhi on March 18.

They promised the Centre that ATC losses in Noida would be reduced from 20 per cent to 10 per cent by June and in Ghaziabad they would be brought down from 27 per cent to 15 per cent. In 25 other towns under the Paschimanchal (Meerut) discom, the losses would be brought down to just 25 per cent from the existing 50-60 per cent by the same period, they said.

The UPPCL admitted to ATC losses being as high as 64, 58 and 43 per cent in Varanasi, Allahabad and Gorakhpur under the Poorvanchal discom, respectively. They promised to reduce losses in these cities by 10 per cent by June. In Kanpur city, which is under the KESCo, the ATC losses were 46.9 per cent and it was claimed they would be reduced to 25 per cent in the next six months.

Officials said losses in 24 cities under the Madhyanchal (Lucknow) discom were 40 per cent, adding that they were committed to reducing them to 25 per cent within the next six months.

It was revealed at the meeting that the situation was quite bad under the Dakshinanchal (Agra) discom where ATC losses in 24 district headquarters, with Etawah and Mainpuri on top, were in the range of 55 per cent to 65 per cent.

The officials did not give any deadline for reducing the losses, but said they would soon draw up an action plan in this regard.

Interestingly, the UPPCL has not been able to reduce its ATC losses by more than 3-5 per cent in the last six years. The corporation spent hundreds of crores of rupees on installing electronic meters on consumers’ premises on the plea that they would bring down losses. But, the effort went in vain. One wonders how they will reduce losses by 25-30 per cent within six months. Have the bosses found a magic wand? “Otherwise, it is mission impossible,” said a senior UPPCL official.