Union Minister R. K. Singh asks States to expedite implementation of RDSS

Shri R. K. Singh, Union Minister for Power & NRE today chaired the Review Planning & Monitoring (RPM) meeting with States and State Power Utilities. The meeting, which is being held on 10th & 11th April 2023 at New Delhi, was attended by Shri Krishan Pal, Minister of State for Power, Shri Alok Kumar, Secretary (Power), Shri B. S. Bhalla, Secretary (MNRE), Additional Chief Secretaries/ Secretaries/ Principal Secretaries/ Secretaries (Power/ Energy) of States and Chairman & Managing Directors of State Power Utilities.

Shri R. K. Singh emphasised the importance of a viable and modern Power Sector in the overall economic growth of the country. He stressed that 24 x 7 quality, reliable and affordable power supply to all the electricity consumers in the country is necessary for India to become a developed nation. It was highlighted that most of the DISCOMs have started implementing the reform measures prescribed by Ministry of Power under its various initiatives like the Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS), Additional Prudential Norms and Late Payment Surcharge (LPS) Rules 2022. It was informed that this year large number of Electricity Regulatory Commissions have issued the tariff orders well in time and have also implemented the Fuel and Power Purchase Cost Adjustment (FPPCA). It was stressed that tariff should be cost reflective and practical loss reduction trajectories should be adopted by Regulatory commissions for DISCOMs to be viable. He mentioned that the DISCOMs as well as GENCOs have been benefitted from the Late Payment Surcharge Rules 2022, notified by the Ministry in June 2022. The Minister also emphasised the importance of correct subsidy accounting. He reiterated that Smart prepaid metering is the only solution to overcome the issues of delayed billing and inadequate payments.

During the meeting, Hon’ble Minister also launched the RDSS module of Integrated Web Portal for Power Distribution Sector Schemes. The portal will revolutionize the monitoring of all Distribution Sector schemes. This innovative platform will provide real-time updates and insights into the implementation of power distribution schemes including RDSS, enabling transparency and efficiency. On this occasion the Hon’ble Minister also launched the 11th Integrated Rating of Power Distribution Utilities – 2022, 2nd Consumer Service Rating of DISCOMs – 2022 and the State Energy Efficiency Index – 2022. Integrated Ratings of 24 discoms have improved from previous year ratings. Four DISCOMs, namely MESCOM, CHESCOM & GESCOM and AP Eastern DISCOM, have shown notable improvement by 3 notches. Further, 8 DISCOMs viz. MSEDCL, APDCL, Ajmer, KSEB, HESCOM, BESCOM, Odisha South and Odisha North Discoms have improved their ratings by 2 notches. Similarly, Consumer Service Ratings of 24 DISCOMs have also improved from previous year ratings.

The status of progress in the States under the RDSS was reviewed. The scheme aims at enhancing operational efficiency and to ensure financial viability of the distribution sector. The Minister also reviewed performance of DISCOMs with respect to Pre-Qualification Criteria under RDSS and other key elements including subsidy and energy accounting etc.. The states have been advised to expedite the implementation of scheme. The states have been further advised to ensure that no penalty be levied on any consumer for higher load discovered after installation of prepaid smart meter and billing may be done on actual load basis along with recovery of past arrears (if any) in phased manner.

The Minister stressed on the need to ensure Resource adequacy in terms of availability of Generation capacity to meet the increasing demand for electricity. He also advised to take up planned maintenance during lean period of demand. He stated that investments in the electricity generation was necessary to meet the increasing demand for electricity in the country. He reiterated the importance of viability in power sector to attract investment in the sector.

The collective effort from all the stakeholders including state/central government, utilities and industry will ensure seamless transition towards an economically viable and environmentally sustainable Power Sector in the country.

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