Past BRS Govt Policies Haunt Power Sector

Hyderabad: The sorry state of affairs that the power utilities in the state were left behind by the previous BRS government did not just leave the utilities floundering in financial mess but also ensured that the Telangana State Northern, and Southern power distribution companies, ended up near the bottom of performance rankings of such utilities nationwide.

Of the 53 power distribution companies in the country, the TS Southern Power Distribution Company Limited, as well as the TS Northern Power Distribution Company Limited, stood at 44th and 46th positions, according to the latest report by the Union Power Ministry.

In its 12th Annual Integrated Ratings & Ranking: Power Distribution Utilities report, the ministry further said that the two power distribution companies in Telangana fall into the C category for overall performance on various parameters.

The latest rankings further add strength to the Congress’ charge that the then BRS government wilfully mismanaged the finances of the power utilities and pushed them into deeper debt. This was something the new Congress government also made clear in a White Paper which it released on December 1, 2023, on Telangana’s power sector.

According to the ministry’s rankings, Telangana was also one of the five states that contributed to 51 per cent of aggregate technical and commercial losses of power. For TSNPDCL, these losses rose from 14.1 per cent of the energy supplied in 2022 to 22.2 per cent in 2023.

Similarly, for TSSPDCL these losses mounted from 9.1 per cent of energy supplied to 17.2 per cent in 2023, the report said. The Northern discom was losing around Rs 1.19 per unit supplied while for the Southern discom, this amount was pegged at Rs 1.08 per unit of power supplied.

In its White Paper too, the new state government pointed out that of the Rs 62,461 crore of accumulated losses of the two distribution companies, as much as Rs 11,103 crore of losses were incurred in 2022-23.

Among the reasons for these losses, according to the White Paper, was the lesser subsidy amount for agriculture power supply between the amount of power supply approved by the Telangana State Electricity Regulatory Commission, and the actual power supplied by the discoms to the farm sector in the state between 2014 and 2022-23. Against the 1,19,256 million units of supply approved by TSERC, the actual supply was 1,53,062 MU which resulted in an additional burden of Rs 18,725 crore on the two discoms.

The power ministry’s report also pointed out that the dues to the discoms from the state government contributed to the financial mess and called on the government to ensure that these dues are paid. During the BRS government’s rule, these arrears to the discoms from the various government departments and entities rose from Rs 1,595.37 crore in 2014, to Rs 28,842.72 crore in 2023, representing a more than 18-fold increase in accumulation of dues to the discoms that were never paid by the then BRS government.

While presenting the White Paper in the Legislative Assembly, Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, who also holds the finance and power portfolios, assured that the Congress government would take steps to bridge these gaps and bring the power utilities back into financial good health.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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