Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government is contemplating privatization of power distribution in the state with chief minister Omar Abdullah asking the power development department (PDD) to study models of privatization of power distribution and come out with a concrete proposal that can be discussed in the Cabinet.
Privatization of power distribution system is gaining popularity across the country and has worked successfully in states like Delhi, he said while speaking at a high-level meeting convened on Tuesday to assess various models of privatization of power distribution utilities.
Drawing attention to the need for reforms in electricity transmission and distribution system, Abdullah said time was ripe to create mass awareness about transmission losses due to theft and misuse of electric energy.
He said a holistic concept paper needs to be formulated for working out a strategy in the direction of power reforms taking all stakeholders, including general public, on board.
“A mechanism is required to be put in place to reform the system” and save the state exchequer from losing money due to power losses, which amounts to Rs2,200 crore annually, the chief minister said.
Asking consumers of all categories to pay tariff in tune with their actual consumption, Abdullah said the government’s prime objective is to reduce deficit on account of power generation and bridge the gap between availability and consumption.
“While PDD has to work for ensuring regular and quality power supply to consumers, it was the duty of the consumers to pay charges according to the load they are utilising,” the chief minister said.
State chief secretary S.S. Kapur, while speaking at the meeting, asked PDD to gear up its rank and file and fulfill the commitments made on account of power reforms.
PDD commissioner-secretary Sandeep Naik explained various elements of privatization of power distribution and also dwelt at length about policy framework and options in this field.
He said the total agreement load in 2008-09 in the state stood at 1,969 MW with number of consumers of all categories standing at 12.16 lakh.
He said demand of power in the same year was 2,120 MW while as local availability stood between 716 MW and 941 MW. Energy purchased in the same period was 9,147 MW, costing over Rs 1,600 crore, he added.
Naik said peak demand in the state during 2009-10 is estimated at 2,247 MW, against availability of 1,545 MW, which leaves a deficit of 702 MW. He said this deficit could be reduced substantially by plugging thefts and transmission losses.