Power Cuts is probably one of the important election issues across the country. Almost every sphere is affected by uninterrupted supply of power or the lack of it. States that have enough Power make it a point to highlight this in their bid to promote Industry & Investment.
In this context, it is interesting to note that the aggregate Power Loss in the country is almost three times the amount of Power Deficit. In almost all the states, the losses are 2-3 times the amount of power deficit.
At an all India level, the power deficit almost halved to 4.2% in 2013-14 from 8.7% the previous year. Though the complete data for 2014-15 is not yet available, data up to January 2015 indicates that the power deficit has come down to 3.8%. The deficit was 8.5% in 2011-12. The steep fall in the deficit is because of the steep increase in power production while the demand has gone up only slightly.
Power Deficit in States
It is interesting to note that the states that had the most power deficit kept changing each year from 2011-12 to 2013-14. In 2011-12, Meghalaya almost had a 1/4th deficit followed by Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh & Maharashtra made up the top five.
In 2012-13, Jammu & Kashmir had a 25% power deficit followed by Andaman & Nicobar. Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu & Bihar were the remaining states in the top five. In 2013-14, Andaman topped the charts with a 25% deficit followed by Jammu & Kashmir. Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya & Karnataka were the remaining states in the top five.
But the following states were consistently in the top 10 power deficit states from 2011-12 to 2013-14 in no particular order.
- Jammu & Kashmir
- Andaman Nicobar
- Madhya Pradesh
- Uttar Pradesh
- Andhra Pradesh
- Tamil Nadu
Remarkable improvement in 2013-14
All the states in general improved the power deficit scenario going with the All India trend. But some states in particular have shown remarkable improvement in 2013-14. Bihar's power deficit came down to 4.1% in 2013-14 from 21.3% in 2011-12. Madhya Pradesh's power deficit on the other hand came down to 0.1% from 16.9% in 2011-12. Rajasthan's power deficit was 0.3% in 2013-14 compared to 3.9% in 2011-12.
Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) Losses
In India, power distribution to the last mile is done by the Distribution Companies, popularly known as Discoms. Every state has one or more Discoms in charge of power distribution. Some states like Uttar Pradesh have five Discoms while some other states like Maharashtra has a single Discom.
Traditionally, losses in the power sector are accounted as Transmission & Distribution losses (T&D). These losses are accounted as a percentage of output. T&D losses, as a measure of grid losses, have been replaced by Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) Losses for better clarity. T&D losses together with loss in revenue collection give AT&C losses.
As per information available with the government, the following are the major factors responsible for AT&C losses.
- Technical Losses
- Overloading of existing lines and substation
- Low HT: LT lines ratio- Higher amount of current flow in the system results in higher losses.
- Poor repair and maintenance of equipment
- Non-installation of sufficient capacitors/reactive power equipment
- Commercial Losses
- Low metering/billing/collection efficiency
- Theft, pilferage of electricity and tampering of meters
- Low accountability of employees
- Absence of Energy Accounting and Auditing
Power Deficit Vs AT&C Losses
It is startling to note that AT&C losses are almost three times the amount of power deficit at an all India level. In 2011-12, the losses were 26.6% of the output while this came down to 25.4% in 2012-13, only a marginal improvement. In most developed countries, the losses are less than 10% and in Israel, the losses are just about 3%.
In almost half the states, the losses are more than 30% consistently across years. Some of the states that had the most power deficit like Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh are in the top 10 in terms of AT & C losses. In fact, in almost all the states, the percentage of losses is much greater (2-3 times) the percentage of power deficit.
It is clear that the Government needs to focus its energies on reducing losses than just improving the generation capacity.