Political pill worsens PCL disease | india | Hindustan Times
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Political pill worsens PCL disease

IT IS like ignoring the doctor?s prescription and cursing the disease. Contrary to the advice given to it for reducing import of exorbitantly costly electricity, the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) has started supplying more electricity to villages incurring more losses.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2006 01:21 IST

IT IS like ignoring the doctor’s prescription and cursing the disease. Contrary to the advice given to it for reducing import of exorbitantly costly electricity, the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) has started supplying more electricity to villages incurring more losses.

Now, the UPPCL bosses are mulling the prescription over to see if the disease can be controlled, if not cured, by acting on the advice only partially.

Upset over paying a heavy penalty to the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for making an unscheduled import of electricity, the UPPCL had, a few months back, set up an in-house expert committee to suggest ways as to how to reduce power purchase from the Central sector power houses.

Significantly, the UPPCL has to pay the NTPC as high as Rs 5.70 per unit of electricity as unscheduled import (UI) charges if it purchases electricity beyond its fixed quota.

Since there is always an extreme paucity of electricity in the State, the UPPCL has no option but to purchase more power irrespective of rates. No wonder, then, that the cash-strapped UPPCL owes around Rs 600 crore to the Central sector as UI charges alone for making unscheduled purchase till end of the last year.

The three-member expert committee comprising DK Mitra, GM, RPMO, BK Punahani, DGM, System Control and OP Srivastava, DGM, submitted its recommendations to the UPPCL management over a month ago. The committee has recommended setting up of a high-powered committee which can take an independent and on-spot decision on making power cuts in the State depending on the need and situation of the grid frequency. It has also recommended introduction of an incentive-based system under which officials contributing to reducing the UI charges should be given certain incentives.

But its most significant recommendation certainly pertains to rostering in villages. It has suggested that more power cuts be made in villages because, it points out that, while the UPPCL provides electricity to villages at an average rate of 50 paise per unit, it purchases power from the Centre at the rate varying from Rs 2.50 to Rs 6 per unit, depending on the grid frequency.

More power to villages means more losses, the committee observes. The panel is of the view that an 8-hour of electricity is enough to enable farmers to fulfil their agricultural needs as in no other state, farmers get more than 8 hours of electricity. It also suggests segregation of agriculture and rural domestic feeders so that domestic consumers can be given more electricity than the agriculture ones.

Interestingly, however, the UPPCL is doing exactly the opposite as far as the crucial recommendation for more rostering in villages is concerned. In a bid to fulfil polls- conscious Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav’s announcement, the UPPCL has started supplying 16 hour electricity to villages making more power cuts in cities!

So, in this case, the patient — UPPCL —is aware of the disease as well as the remedy, but he lacks will power to swallow the bitter pill obviously for political reasons.