Distribution Status: Focus on network strengthening and loss reduction

Focus on network strengthening and loss reduction

Power distribution in Jammu & Kashmir is managed by the Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Department (JKPDD), which supplies power to over 22 districts in the state. Meeting the growing power demand, tackling the high aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses and ensuring network reliability are the major focus areas for the department. Notably, the unbundling of JKPDD – the sole transmission and distribution utility in the state – into a transmission company and two distribution companies was approved by the state government in September 2012. However, as the unbundling is under process, JKPDD continues to operate as an integrated transmission and distribution utility.

Distribution network

Between 2011-12 and 2015-16, JKPDD’s distribution line length across the 33 kV, 11 kV and low tension (LT) voltage levels grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.63 per cent to reach 112,523 ckt. km, with the majority of the distribution length (74,356 ckt. km) at the LT level, followed by 30 per cent (33,796 ckt. km) at the 11 kV level and 4 per cent (4,370 ckt. km) at the 33 kV level. Meanwhile, as of March 2016, the company’s transformer capacity in the distribution segment (33 kV and 11 kV voltage levels) stood at 10,477 MVA. Around 58 per cent of the transformer capacity (6,060 MVA) is at the 11 kV level and the remaining (4,416 MVA) is at the 33 kV level.

Energy sales and metering status

Energy sales in the state have grown significantly over the years. Between 2011-12 and 2014-15, energy sales grew at a CAGR of 11 per cent to reach 6,493 MUs. Meanwhile, the total number of electricity consumers across all consumer categories stood at 1.7 million as of March 2015. On the metering front, the state has around 558,913 unmetered households. comprising around 38 per cent of the total households. The state has around 833,397 electronic meters and 60,642 electromechanical meters.

Operational performance

High AT&C losses are a major concern for the state’s distribution segment. During 2017-18 (upto June) the AT&C losses in the state stood at 61.34 per cent, significantly higher than the all-India average loss of 22.86 per cent. In 2015-16, the loss level stood at 61.6 per cent, up from 49.14 per cent in 2013-14. The high loss level can be attributed mainly to the large number of unmetered consumers, old/ overloaded lines and poor HT:LT ratio.

Progress under government schemes

The revival of Jammu & Kashmir’s power distribution segment hinges largely on various government schemes. In March 2016, the state signed the MoU for the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY), for improving the financial and operational performance. Under this, it is targeting to reduce AT&C losses to 15 per cent by 2019-20. It has issued bonds for the entire debt of Rs 35.38 billion. Besides this, as of June 2017, JKPDD has completed the metering of its feeders and has met the targets for distribution transformer metering (urban) up to 15 per cent. Under the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), 85 towns are being covered for system strengthening and over 50 towns for Phase II of IT implementation. The delayed implementation can be attributed to the law and order situation. These towns are now expected to achieve go-live status by March 2018. Under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), as of July 2017, around 102 villages and 0.27 million households remain to be electrified. Overall, a total capital expenditure of Rs 25.49 billion and Rs 13.84 billion for 2017-18 and 2018-19 respectively is envisaged for the state’s power distribution network under various government schemes.

The way forward

JKPDD is undertaking a host of initiatives to strengthen the state’s distribution network. One of its key focus areas is improving the metering scenario by ensuring 100 per cent consumer metering, replacing old electromagnetic meters, installing prepaid meters and improving meter testing facilities. JKPDD is also adopting smart grid technology, including advanced metering infrastructure and peak load management, and is setting up a communication network between its substations and offices for real-time data access. Apart from this, it is focusing on strengthening project management capacities to ensure timely implementation. However, a key concern is the absence of any tariff hike in the state in recent years (2014-15 and 2015-16). Further, the state has been giving substantial subsidies (ranging from 7 per cent to 60 per cent) vis-a-vis the average cost of supply. To conclude, the network strengthening and augmentation projects under way are expected to improve the last mile power availability scenario in the state, and prepare the department to service the growing consumer base.