Power distribution in Telangana is undertaken solely by the state-owned utilities Telangana Southern Power Distribution Company of Telangana Limited (TSSPDCL) and Northern Power Distribution Company of Telangana Limited (TSNPDCL). Telangana’s discoms have been making efforts to strengthen their distribution network, lower losses and improve their financial position. Both the discoms were ranked B+ in the Ministry of Power’s Fifth Annual Integrated Rating of State Power Distribution Utilities, released in May 2017, indicating moderate operational and financial performance.
The total distribution line length in Telangana stands at over 476,000 ckt. km across the 33 kV, 11 kV and low tension (LT) voltage levels. While LT lines have a share of 66 per cent in the total line length, 11 kV and 33 kV lines account for 30 per cent and 4 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, transformer capacity in the state stands at 47,108 MVA, of which 54 per cent is at the 11 kV level and 46 per cent capacity at the 33 kV level. Discom wise, TSNPDCL’s distribution line length stands at 220,388 ckt. km and transformer capacity at 16,480 MVA. Meanwhile, TSSPDCL’s distribution line length stands at over 255,613 ckt. km and transformer capacity at over 30,629 MVA.
Consumer base and energy sales
As of March 2016, the total number of energy consumers in Telangana stood at over 12 million, registering energy sales of 40,650 MUs during 2015-16. Domestic consumers account for the majority (73 per cent) share in the consumer base, followed by agricultural (16 per cent), commercial (9 per cent) and industrial (1 per cent) consumers. In terms of energy sales, industrial and agricultural consumers accounted for the majority share of 28 per cent each, followed by domestic (24 per cent), commercial (7 per cent) and other consumers. TSSPDCL caters to 59 per cent (around 7 million) of the total consumers in the state registering energy sales of 29,084 MUs during 2015-16. TSNPDCL, on the other hand, had a total consumer base of 5,274,777 as of March 2017. During 2016-17, the discom registered energy sales of 13,028 MUs.
The aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses in Telangana stood at 14.20 per cent for the quarter ended March 2017. TSNPDCL and TSSPDCL recorded losses of 12.63 per cent and 14.97 per cent respectively. Notably, the AT&C losses in the state are significantly lower than the all-India loss level of 20.08 per cent. The state discoms have achieved a considerable reduction in the loss levels over the years. While TSSPDCL’s AT&C losses declined from 17.77 per cent in 2011-12 to 13.58 per cent in 2015-16, TSNPDCL’s losses reduced from 17.11 per cent to 12.84 per cent during the same period. With regard to various consumer-centric parameters, Telangana’s performance has been far better than the average all-India level. During May 2017, pending consumer complaints in the state stood at 1.1 per cent (against 10.3 per cent at the national level), the average duration of power cuts at 3:50 hours per month (all-India – 7:45 hours per month), the number of power cuts at 6.2 times per month (against 11 times per month at the all-India level), pending connection requests at 11.4 per cent (all-India – 60.4 per cent pending), electricity losses or thefts at 16.9 per cent (all-India – 22.6 per cent). Notably, Telangana is the best performing state in terms of e-payment of bills, with 34.30 per cent consumers undertaking e-payments in May 2017, as against 14.60 per cent at the all-India level.
The financial performance of the discoms is a cause for concern for the state’s power sector as both utilities are in the red. In 2015-16, TSNPDCL recorded a net loss of Rs 10.48 billion, against Rs 69.50 billion recorded in the previous year. Its total income stood at Rs 75.85 billion, an increase of 25 per cent over the previous year. TSSPDCL, on the other hand, recorded a net loss of Rs 23.69 billion during 2015-16, against Rs 11.71 million in the previous year. Its total income was recorded at Rs 164.67 billion, an increase of six per cent over the previous year.
Progress under government schemes
For the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana, Telangana signed an MoU in January 2017 to improve the financial and operational performance of its discoms. The state has, so far, issued bonds for Rs 89.23 billion out of the aggregate discom debt of Rs 118.97 billion (as of September 2015). For the quarter ended March 2017, the state fully met its targets for distribution transformer (DT) metering (urban), DT metering (rural), rural feeder audit, LED distribution under Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA), renewable purchase obligation, and reduction in the ACS-ARR gap. However, it failed to meet the targets for feeder segregation, providing electricity access to unconnected households, and AT&C loss reduction. During the same quarter, the state was ranked five based on its performance under the scheme, among the 22 participating states. Meanwhile, TSSPDCL and TSNPDCL were ranked 14 and 15 respectively among the 41 participating discoms/power departments.
For another distribution segment scheme, the Integrated Power Development Scheme, Telangana has witnessed a speedy implementation. As envisaged under the scheme (Phase I), IT-enablement of 38 towns has been completed and two SCADA centres have been commissioned. Meanwhile, urban strengthening has been completed in 30 out of 37 towns and feeder monitoring on the National Power Portal has been achieved up to 98.9 per cent. Of the Rs 6.53 billion sanctioned for Telangana under the scheme, 64 per cent or Rs 4.23 billion has been released so far. Besides, under Phase-II of the scheme for IT-enablement in Telangana, 30 towns have been covered, for which Rs 240.60 million has been sanctioned. In Telangana, the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana is aimed at intensive electrification of villages and below poverty line (BPL) households as all Census villages in the state were electrified at the time of formation of the state. Notably, intensive electrification of villages has been completed in the state, and 708,865 BPL households have been electrified so far under the scheme. Meanwhile, of the total 5.97 million households, around 1.03 million have been electrified as of April 30, 2017.
Key initiatives by the discoms
The Telangana discoms are undertaking a host of initiatives to strengthen their distribution network and enhance the consumer experience. Some of the key initiatives taken by TSNPDCL are the launch of a mobile application for reporting electrical exigencies, installation of swipe machines at electricity revenue office counters for bill payment, and release of agriculture services and domestic connections on a priority basis within the service-level agreement period. Further, the discom undertakes consumer interaction for ground-level updates on power supply conditions. A noteworthy network strengthening initiative taken by the discom is the Distribution Network Renovation Drive, which is aimed at the rectification of damaged/intermediate poles, damaged conductors, loose spans, etc.
Meanwhile, the key initiatives taken by TSSPDCL include setting up of facilities for tracking applications for a new service connection and complaint resolution, and deployment of technologies such as geographic information system mapping, automatic meter reading and SCADA. Further, for industrial consumers, the discom has created virtual bank accounts to ease the bill payment process and launched a single window cell for new industrial consumers for granting clearances. It also undertakes MRI analysis of the consumer’s electricity network to detect energy pilferages. Further, the discom is implementing the Rural High Voltage Distribution System Project for 94,085 agricultural pumps. The discom is also implementing the Smart Grid Pilot Project in Jeedimetla and Shapur Nagar sections in the Jeedimetla Industrial Area, Rangareddy North circle with 11,904 consumers. The project entails a cost of Rs 418.20 and is scheduled to be commissioned by September 2017.
Between 2017-18 and 2018-19, a distribution line length of 63,090 ckt. km and transformer capacity of 7,208 MVA is planned to be added in Telangana. To this end, an overall capex of Rs 48.25 billion has been proposed by the discoms during the period. Voltage wise, the majority of the line length addition is planned at the 11 kV level (51 per cent), followed by the LT level (44 per cent) and the 33 kV level (5 per cent).
Discom wise, TSNPDCL has proposed a line length addition of 47,952 ckt. km transformer capacity addition of 3,584 MVA and a capex of Rs 20.08 billion for the same period. Besides, during 2017-18, the discom plans to undertake the conversion of 29,742 agriculture connections from LVDS to HVDS, interlink 382 km of 33 kV lines, convert 2,417 services connections from one-phase DTs to three-phase agricultural DTs, among other things. Meanwhile, TSSPDCL has proposed a line length addition of 15,137.87 ckt. km, transformer capacity addition of 3,624 MVA and a capex of Rs 28.17 billion for the two-year period.
In light of its network expansion plans, reduction in losses, and timely implementation of a host of government schemes and IT initiatives, Telangana’s distribution segment seems to have a bright future.