BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Feb 13: Although thousands of crores of rupees from different sources have been invested in Assam for power sector reforms in the last few years, power generation is yet to measure up to expectations.
Currently, as much as 80 per cent of power is being purchased from sources outside for meeting the State’s power needs. Only 270 MW of power is being produced in the State. In the me of purchasing power, the Assam Power Distribution Corporation Limited (APDCL) spends Rs 330 crore every month. This was informed by State Power Minister Pallab Lochon Das in the Assembly on Monday.
Das also said the APDCL is facing monthly losses of around Rs 55 crore. “Total monthly expenditure of APDCL is Rs 400 crore, while the corporation earns monthly revenue of Rs 315 crore along with Rs 30 crore as subsidy from the government,” Das said, adding, “There are several causes behind the losses being made by APDCL, the most prominent being poor technical magement, power theft (annually Rs 30 crore), a large staff numbering around 14,000, problems in billing and faulty meter reading.”
To solve problems relating to billing and various expenses being borne by APDCL, the State Power Department has decided to introduce pre-paid meter system in the State, similar to mobile phone services. “The pre-paid meter system will be first introduced in five villages, and then gradually extended to the rest of the State,” the Power Minister said, adding, “A mobile app med ‘Urja Mitra’ will be introduced so that consumers can use it for getting all information, from billing to power consumed and other details. The main reason behind this app is to maintain transparency in the functioning of the Power Department.”
It may be mentioned that Assam has a daily requirement of 1,500 MW of power on average, but produces only 270 MW power while purchasing 860 MW power from other sources based outside the State. Because of this power shortage, frequent blackouts are a common problem in the State.