Loss reduction measures crucial for improving efficiency of transco’s operations

Assam Electricity Grid Corporation Limited (AEGCL) was set up in 2003, following the restructuring of the Assam State Electricity Board. It is responsible for power transmission in Assam and was operating 4,979 ckt. km of transmission lines, 57 substations and 5,080 MVA of transformer capacity as of March 2015.

Transmission network

On a year-on-year basis, AEGCL’s transmission line length marked an increase of less than 1 per cent, from 4,949 ckt. km in 2013-14 to 4,979 ckt. km in 2014-15. As of March 2015, the majority (over 50 per cent) of its line length, 2,823 ckt. km, was at the 132 kV level, followed by around 30 per cent at the 220 kV level with 1,455 ckt. km, around 14 per cent at the 66 kV level with 695 ckt. km, and just 7 ckt. km at the 400 kV level.

As of March 2015, the company was operating 57 substations, with 46 substations (around 80 per cent) at the 132 kV level, followed by nine substations (16 per cent) at the 220 kV level, and one substation each at the 400 kV level and 66 kV level.

AEGCL’s transformer capacity was 5,080 MVA in 2014-15, indicating an increase of 11 per cent over 4,578 MVA the previous year. The majority (around 50 per cent), 2,575 MVA, was at the 132 kV level, followed by 1,640 MVA (33 per cent) at the 220 kV level, 630 MVA (around 12 per cent) at the 400 kV level, and 235 MVA (around 5 per cent) at the 66 kV level. In addition, in 2014-15, the company was operating 160 transformers, marking an increase of around 9 per cent over the 147 transformers the previous year. The 132 kV level had the highest share (72 per cent) with 115 transformers, followed by the 220 kV level with 22 transformers (14 per cent), the 66 kV level with 21 transformers (13 per cent) and the 400 kV level with two transformers.

Financial and operational performance

One of the major concerns for AEGCL is its financial performance as it has been in the red for the past two years. On a year-on-year basis, it recorded a total income of Rs 5.56 billion in 2014-15, marking an increase of 7 per cent over the Rs 5.21 billion the previous year. Meanwhile, during the same period, its total expenditure grew at 21 per cent from Rs 5.27 billion to Rs 6.36 billion. This resulted in a loss of Rs 67.5 million in 2013-14 and Rs 805.5 million in 2014-15. Meanwhile, between 2011-12 and 2014-15, the company’s total income and expenditure grew at a compound annual growth rate of 9.01 per cent and 8.59 per cent, reaching Rs 5.56 billion and Rs 6.36 billion respectively.

AEGCL’s expenditure on operations and maintenance (O&M) stood at Rs 1.48 billion in 2014-15, recording an increase of 7 per cent over the Rs 1.38 billion recorded the previous year. Meanwhile, it undertook capital expenditure of Rs 8.57 billion in 2014-15, registering an increase of 13 per cent over the Rs 7.57 billion in 2013-14. During the same period, even the company’s debt-equity ratio deteriorated from 3.81:1 to 4.52:1.

Meanwhile, the transco recorded a slight improvement on the operational performance front. In 2014-15, its transmission losses stood at 3.84 per cent, declining by 0.25 percentage points over 4.09 per cent the previous year. On the other hand, its transmission losses worsened in 2013-14, when it recorded an increase of 0.21 percentage points over 3.88 per cent in 2012-13.

Multilateral funding

AEGCL is implementing a host of projects in the state with the assistance of multilateral funding agencies like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The World Bank is extending around Rs 10.82 billion of assistance for implementing a number of transmission projects, including eleven 220/132 kV transmission lines aggregating 376 km of transmission line length and twenty 220/132/33 kV substations totalling 1,644 MVA of capacity.

Meanwhile, ADB is extending its support to the transco as part of the Assam Power Sector Investment Program for undertaking the development of transmission infrastructure in the state. Its funds will be utilised to construct transmission lines, build new substations, renovate existing substations, etc.

Future plans

The company has laid down a capacity addition roadmap for the coming years. Between 2015-16 and 2018-19, AEGCL plans to add 2,862 ckt. km of transmission line length across all voltage levels. The majority (over 50 per cent) has been planned at the 132 kV level with 1,505 ckt. km, followed by 1,107 ckt. km (39 per cent) at the 220 kV level and 250 ckt. km at the 400 kV level (9 per cent).

During the same period, AEGCL is planning to add 6,956 MVA of transformer capacity across all voltage levels, with 2,460 MVA planned at the 220/132 kV level (over 36 per cent), followed by 2,266 MVA at the 132/33 kV level (around 33 per cent), 1,620 MVA at the 400/220 kV level (around 23 per cent) and 600 MVA at the 132/33 kV level (over 6 per cent).

In addition, the company plans to undertake capital expenditure of Rs 53.97 billion between 2015-16 and 2018-19. Of this, capex of Rs 4.16 billion will be undertaken in 2015-16, Rs 11.19 billion in 2016-17, Rs 24.09 billion in 2017-18 and Rs 14.53 billion in 2018-19.

Besides capacity addition targets, AEGCL has set a vision that involves designing and developing an optimum transmission network to meet the state’s electricity demand by 2020; establishing the best construction and O&M practices supported by advanced IT; developing skilled manpower; and making the company technically and financially sound, among other things. To achieve these aims, AEGCL plans to adopt new technologies; undertake fair and transparent construction practices and scientific O&M practices; optimise the design, implementation and utilisation of telecommunication; and undertake appropriate financial management.

Going ahead, Assam’s transmission network must be augmented to keep pace with the growing power demand. To this end, it is essential for the transco to ensure time-bound and cost-effective completion of the projects in hand by removing the implementation bottlenecks that crop up in terms of clearance procedures and right-of-way hurdles. In addition, it is critical to further lower network losses for improving operational efficiency.


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