FEDCO aims to widen women SHG network in Puri through SEFALI programme

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Bhubaneswar: FEDCO’s Woman Self Help Group (WSHG) engagement initiative SEFALI has received a tremendous response in Puri Electrical Division, with 17 such SHGs joining hands with the Company to serve its 12,000 consumers.

With the success of the model in Nayagarh and overwhelmed with the response in Puri, FEDCO (Feedback Energy Distribution Company) now plans to onboard 33 WSHGs by the end of this month to cater around 30,000 consumers in Puri.

Under its incentive-led SEFALI (Society’s Empowerment for Assuring Livelihood) programme, FEDCO engages WSHGs for metering, billing and collection of energy charges from its consumers. Involvement of the local community through an initiative like SEFALI not only enhances the income level of participating women members but it also helps in reduction of AT&C losses for the DISCOM.

FEDCO’s SEFALI initiatives origination comes from a model created by government of Odisha’s Mission Shakti. As a successful model wherein government policy and private sector implementation ensured best results for social transformation and operational efficiency, SEFALI started with the Company’s Nayagarh Electrical Division In 2013 where tremendous improvement in electricity distribution was achieved with the involvement of local women based Self Help Groups.

“With continuous guidance from FEDCO, we are not only financially independent but also living in the society with respect,” said Smt Sanjukta of one of the SHG working in Nayagarh division.

FEDCO, which operates as a distribution franchisee in Odisha’s four electricity divisions–Puri, Balugaon, Khurda and Nayagarh, is one of the few successful examples where private participation has ensured AT&C loss reduction by 26% and financial turnaround, making ARR-ACS cash positive within 5 years of operation in a predominately (up to 90%) rural area.

“Apart from the fact that SEFALI initiative has ensured AT&C losses reduction by 34% and revenue up by 224% in Nayagarh division, what is most satisfying is that the women SHGs associated with us are financial independent and are running households on their own,” said Mr Samarjit Mohanty, CEO, FEDCO.

He further added that the credit and vision for creating this framework is entirely due to the government. “The ownership shown by the 133 women SHGs in understanding and implementing operational efficiency is a ready model for stakeholders to refer and replicate,” Mr Mohanty added.

As part of extending the successful and matured SEFALI engagement programme beyond Nayagarh, FEDCO conducted awareness and sensitization campaigns in various gram panchayats under Sadar section of Puri Electricity Division. After the selection, members of SHGs went through various training such as soft skills and capacity building before the signing of formal agreements. FEDCO has already on-boarded 17 SHGs in Sadar section.

“We have taken a 360-degree approach to orient all the stakeholders including the community, existing SHGs and the district administration through extensive interactions and rapport building sessions. We have already identified 9 more such SHGs and by the end of October 2019, we should have 33 women SHGs working with us in Puri,” said Smt Subhasmita Mishra, Head of SEFALI at FEDCO.

The Company has established a SHG managing team of social experts to provide support to the SHG group on a daily basis. Through review meeting and interactions with the SHG, the team tries to monitor, guide, motivate, and support the SHGs with an aim to increase their productivity.

SHGs are community-based groups drawing their membership from the cross-section of the society with entrenched involvement in the local issues. It has been seen that involving WSHGs in collection of energy revenue, grievance redressal and generating public awareness on energy conservation has positive impact on the overall experience for the electricity consumers.

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