Mixed Progress

Utility performance improves but remains below expectations

The operational performance of power utilities has improved over the past year. The plant load factors (PLFs) of thermal power plants (TPPs) have recovered marginally owing to increased demand, while the majority of the state transmission utilities have reported a decline in transmission losses. Further, the aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses of discoms have reduced though they are still above the targeted level of 15 per cent in most states.

Power Line presents an overview of the performance of utilities across the power sector during the past year…


The national PLF of TPPs stood at 61.07 per cent in 2018-19, an increase of 1.16 percentage points from the 59.91 per cent recorded in 2017-18. The PLF for the April-July 2019 period stood at 60.96 per cent vis-à-vis 60.52 per cent in the corresponding period in 2018.

Of the 34 utilities tracked by Power Line Research in 2018-19, 19 reported an increase in PLF over the previous year. The highest PLFs (at 94.78 per cent) were reported by Sasan Power Limited (SPL), which runs the 3,960 MW Sasan ultra mega power project in Madhya Pradesh, and Odisha Power Generation Corporation Limited (OPGCL), which operates the 420 MW IB Valley TPS in Jharsuguda, at 83.68 per cent PLF.

Sector-wise, the central sector recorded the highest PLF in 2018-19. The average PLF of central sector-owned plants was 72.64 per cent, marginally higher than the 71.41 per cent recorded in the previous year. In the state sector, the PLFs increased from 55.38 per cent in 2017-18 to 57.81 per cent in 2018-19. For private independent power producers, the PLF declined marginally from 54.98 per cent to 54.95 per cent while for private utilities it increased from 60.42 per cent to 61.34 per cent during the same period.

Among central utilities, NTPC Limited recorded a PLF of 77.18 per cent in 2018-19, marginally lower than that in the previous year. NTPC’s best performing plant was the Vindhyachal super thermal power station (TPS), which recorded a PLF of 90.03 per cent, whereas the lowest PLF was recorded by its Barauni TPS (acquired from BSPGCL) at 2.44 per cent. The Damodar Valley Corporation recorded an increase of 3.86 percentage points in its PLF, from 55.19 per cent in 2017-18 to 59.05 per cent in 2018-19, whereas the PLF of NLC India Limited declined marginally from 70.55 per cent to 70.31 per cent.

At the state level, OPGCL was the best performing utility with 83.86 per cent PLF in 2018-19, which is well above the average state sector PLF and the national av-erage. Telangana State Power Generation Corporation Limited was the second-best performing state utility with 77.54 per cent PLF followed by Chhattisgarh State Power Generation Company, which recorded a PLF of over 73.99 per cent in 2018-19. Overall, the state utilities of Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu recorded an increase in PLF during 2018-19. Meanwhile, the biggest drop in PLF was reported by Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Company Limited, with the PLF declining by 12.93 percentage points from 71.59 to 58.66 per cent. The state gencos of Karnataka, West Bengal and Haryana, as well as Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation Limited, Singareni Collieries Company Limited and Tenughat Vidyut Nigam Limited also experienced a decline in PLFs during 2018-19 over the previous year.

In the private sector, the PLFs varied widely between 20 per cent and 94 per cent. Adani Power Limited, Coastal Gujarat Power Limited, Jindal India Thermal Private Limited, JSW Energy Limited, Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited (formerly Reliance Infrastructure’s Dahanu TPP), Sasan Power Limited and Torrent Power (Sabarmati TPP) witnessed an in-crease in PLF during the review period. The PLFs for all other private sector utilities registered a decline. The highest decline was reported by Essar Power Gujarat Limited, from 25.52 per cent in 2017-18 to a zero PLF in 2018-19 as the plant stopped generation due to unviable tariffs. Essar Power Madhya Pradesh Limited’s PLF also declined significantly by 14 percentage points.


The performance of state transmission utilities improved during 2018-19. The 22 state utilities tracked by Power Line Research reported transmission losses in the range of 0.98 per cent (Delhi Transco Limited) to 4.73 per cent (Bihar State Power Transmission Company) in 2018-19. Fifteen utilities registered a decline in their transmission losses in 2018-19 over the previous year while four registered an increase and one utility (Uttar Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation) did not register any change.

Delhi Transco was the only utility that reported losses of less than 1 per cent, followed by Uttarakhand Power Transmission Corporation Limited and Himachal Pradesh Power Transmission Corpor-

ation with 1.1 per cent and 1.5 per cent of transmission losses respectively. The Transmission Corporation of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation and Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Limited recorded losses of 2-3 per cent during 2018-19.

A majority of transcos reported losses in the range of 3-4 per cent including the state utilities of Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal. The transcos with the highest losses of over 4 per cent were the Meghalaya Power Transmission Corporation, the Bihar State Power Transmission Company and Kerala State Electricity Board Limited (KSEBL).


Power Line Research tracked 58 discoms – 48 state-owned distribution utilities and 10 private utilities. Among the state utilities, AT&C losses ranged from as low as 6.68 per cent for Eastern Power Distribution Company of Andhra Pradesh Limited (APEPDCL) to as high as 49.76 per cent for the Jammu & Kashmir Power Development Department (JKPDD) during 2018-19. A total of 29 state utilities reported a decline in AT&C losses in 2018-19 vis-à-vis 2017-18. The most significant improvements were reported by South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (SBPDCL), Western Electricity Supply Company of Orissa Limited (WESCO) and Dakshinanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (DVVNL) and Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), with a decline of 5-8 percentage points in AT&C losses.

Among the state utilities, APEPDCL and Dakshin Gujarat Vij Company Limited (DGVCL) were the best performers with AT&C losses of 6.68 per cent and 7.34 per cent respectively in 2018-19. Apart from these, 17 state-owned utilities reported AT&C losses of less than 15 per cent during 2018-19. These included Southern Power Distribution Company of Telan-gana Limited (TSSPDCL), Northern Power Distribution Company of Telangana Limited (TSNPDCL), Southern Power Distribution Company of Andhra Pradesh Limited (APSPDCL), Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Limited (MGVCL), Uttar Gujarat Vij Company Limited (UGVCL), Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN), Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Limited (HPSEBL), Mangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (MESCOM), Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Company Limited (CESCOM), Hubli Electricity Supply Company Limited (HESCOM), Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM), KSEBL, PSPCL, Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited (UPCL) and Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company Limited (TANGEDCO).

The worst performers in 2018-19 were JKPDD and Madhya Pradesh Madhya Kshetra Vidyut Vitran Company Limited with AT&C losses of 49.76 and 42.37 per cent. Six state discoms recorded AT&C losses of above 30 per cent. These were Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited (JBVNL), Madhya Pradesh Poorv Kshetra Vidyut Vitran Company Limited, Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited (MePDCL), Southern Electricity Supply Company of Odisha Limited (SOUTHCO), Sikkim Power Department and Purvanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (PuVVNL).

Meanwhile, private sector discoms have consistently reported low losses over the past couple of years. Both Delhi discoms Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) and BSES reported good numbers. TPDDL reported an improvement in performance with AT&C losses of 7.92 per cent in 2018-19 vis-à-vis 8.4 per cent in the previous year while BSES Rajdhani Power Limited’s losses increased to 10.64 per cent from 9.44 per cent. BSES Yamuna Power Limited’s AT&C losses stood at 15.39 per cent in the April-November 2018 period. The other private discoms (which reported T&D losses during the review period) also bettered their performance in 2018-19. The T&D losses for India Power (3 per cent), CESC Limited (8 per cent) and Adani Electricity Mumbai (8.28 per cent) were lower than those in 2017-18. Tata Power Mumbai’s T&D loss was the lowest at 1.02 per cent though it increased marginally over the previous year.



Overall, the power utilities have seen an improvement in their operational performance as a result of the various schemes and programmes undertaken by the central government. However, there is still a lot of ground to cover. The generation segment is weighed down by issues such as low offtake of power by discoms. Further, AT&C losses in some areas are as high as 49 per cent. The implementation of government schemes needs to be closely monitored to attain the desired results as the viability of investments across the sector largely depends on the operational performance of power utilities. The performance-linked financial and operational turnaround plan, UDAY 2.0, expected to be soon launched by the government, could also help improve the health of the beleaguered discoms.


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