Established in January 2009 following the unbundling of the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board, Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Limited (CSPDCL) is the sole distribution licensee in Chhattisgarh. It is responsible for the development and management of power distribution infrastructure in the state.
The discom has been working to continuously improve its performance. Its aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) loss performance improved from 22.41 per cent in 2014-15 to 19.84 per cent in 2018-19, while its revenue gap reduced from Re 0.65 per unit to Re 0.04 per unit in the same period. In the latest annual integrated ratings report released by the Power Finance Corporation (PFC), the discom received a rating of B+, an improvement over the B grade in the previous ranking. The state has achieved 100 per cent household electrification under the Saubhagya scheme. The 24×7 Power for all and Saubhagyaprogrammes have led to an increase in the consumer base to over 5 million.
With the UjwalDiscom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) and a number of other central government initiatives such as the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), the utility aims to upgrade and modernise its network to further bring down AT&C losses. It plans to develop smart grids for two cities in Chhattisgarh, Raipur and Bilaspur. For 2020-21, the discom has outlined a capex of Rs 7.95 billion. Further, the discom has plans to procure additional power from renewable energy sources to meet its renewable purchase obligation (RPO) and has recently signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) for procuring 100 MW of solar power with storage.
As of March, 2019, the discom’s overall consumer base stood at 5.61 million, up by 12 per cent from 4.9 million in 2017-18. In 2018-19, CSPDCL registered total energy sales of 22,210 MUs, up by 9 per cent from 20,362 MUs in 2017-18. Of the total electricity sales, 11,907.9 MUs were low tension (LT) and 10,302.29 MUs were high tension (HT).
In terms of infrastructure, CSPDCL’s total distribution line length stood at 324,186 ckt. km in 2018-19, 24.5 per cent higher than its line length of 260,396 ckt. km in 2014-15. The line length registered a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.63 per cent during the period. Of the total line length, LT lines account for around 59 per cent or 190,399 km, 11 kV lines for 34 per cent or 111,742 km and 33 kV distribution lines for the remaining length. A line length of around 19,289 ckt. km was added during 2018-19 as against 17,557 ckt. km added in 2017-18.
As of March 2019, the utility owned 1,242 substations at the 33/11 kV voltage level with a capacity of 7,408 MVA, and 167,949 distribution transformers (DTs) with a capacity of 11,978 MVA. The discom has achieved 100 per cent metering for its consumers.
The discom’s AT&C losses reduced from 22.41 per cent in 2014-15 to 19.84 per cent in 2018-19. Further, its average cost of supply (ACS)-average revenue realised gap was Re 0.04 per unit during 2018-19 as against Re 0.65 per unit in 2014-15. The discom’s billing efficiency rose to 83.4 per cent in 2018-19 from 77.85 per cent in 2014-15. The collection efficiency, however, declined from 99.66 per cent in 2014-15 to 96.11 per cent in 2018-19. Under UDAY, CSPDCL achieved 71 per cent progress in DT metering in urban areas and 50 per cent in rural areas, as of September 2019. Further, the discom has achieved 100 per cent feeder metering in urban areas and rural areas.
In terms of performance of reliability indices, the average System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) of feeders was 72 (units of interruptions per customer) and the average System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) was 2,005 minutes in March 2019. Further, the DT failure rate decreased from 8.29 per cent in 2014-15 to 7.63 per cent in 2018-19.
In terms of total revenue, the company registered a growth of 7.38 per cent from Rs 148.06 billion in 2017-18 to Rs 159 billion in 2018-19. Since 2014-15, the company’s total revenue has increased at a CAGR of 18.93 per cent. It recorded a net loss of Rs 1.57 billion in 2018-19 as compared to a net loss of Rs 2.79 billion in the previous year. Its total expenditure increased by 7.12 per cent in 2018-19 over the previous year to stand at Rs 160.57 billion. The operations and maintenance cost increased from Rs 17.18 billion in 2017-18 to Rs 19.6 billion in 2018-19, registering a growth rate of 14.08 per cent.
During 2018-19, the discom’s power purchase costs (net) stood at Rs 3.70 per unit, or around Rs 104 billion. The discom incurred a power purchase cost of Rs 6.08 per unit for renewable power procurement during the year. The discom’scapex grew at a CAGR of 18.81 per cent from 2014-15 to 2018-19 to stand at Rs 15.9 billion. Its debt-equity ratio stood at -0.72 in 2018-19, while the return on equity and the return on net worth were -3.13 per cent. CSPDCL received a subsidy of Rs 703.2 million in 2018-19.
CSPDCL is planning the installation of smart grids in two cities, Raipur and Bilaspur. PFC Consulting is providing consultancy services for these projects. The detailed project reports (DPRs) have been approved by the National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM) technical committee (at an approved cost of around Rs 1.60 billion) while approval from the empowered committee is awaited. The utility’s power consumer base is estimated to be over 300,000 in Raipur and 100,000 in Bilaspur. CSPDCL has completed geographic information system (GIS) mapping, asset mapping and consumer indexing for both the cities. Meanwhile, smart metering projects are proposed under the IPDS in four towns of Chhattisgarh that have a high AT&C loss trajectory – Ambikapur, Korba, Raigarh and Rajnandgaon. A DPR has been provided for the installation of 178,746 smart meters in these areas at an estimated cost of Rs 1.94 billion. To facilitate accurate monitoring and improve system reliability, the utility has planned a scheme for the installation of real-time data acquisition system (RT-DAS) for SAIDI/SAIFI measurement at 11 kV feeders under the IPDS. According to the utility, the cost of the installation of the RT-DAS is Rs 88.42 million. The key functionalities of the system are accurate real-time system of measurement, cybersecurity compliance, GPS time synchronisation, compatibility with SCADA/AMI, etc.
Renewable energy initiatives
In 2018-19 the RPO target assigned to the discom was 3.5 per cent for solar and 7.5 per cent for non-solar. However, the discom was able to achieve only 21.6 per cent of its target. Going forward, the utility has been assigned an RPO target of 15 per cent (6.5 per cent for solar and 8.5 per cent for non-solar) for 2020-21.
To improve its RPO performance, CSPDCL has been signing PPAs for additional renewable power procurement. Recently, in February 2020, CSPDCL signed a power sale agreement (PSA) with SECI for 100 MW of solar power along with 50 MW/100 MWh energy from battery storage. Earlier, in June 2019, it had signed a PSA with SECI for 400 MW of solar-wind hybrid power, which was recently approved by the state regulator.
In January 2020, as the state nodal agency for the implementation of grid-connected rooftop projects, CSPDCL issued a tender for the empanelment of vendors for the installation of grid-connected rooftop solar PV projects under the capex model. The successful bidder has to install rooftop solar systems of 1-500 kWp capacity for all willing consumers, excluding government connections, under a rate contract programme.
For the prevention of Covid, all cash electricity bill payment centres in the state have been closed. Further, CSPDCL has suspended the collection of demand charges on bills for April, May and June 2020 for non-domestic (commercial), agro-based industrial and other industrial consumers. After the moratorium period, the aforementioned charges will be collected in equal monthly instalments along with the electricity bills of the upcoming six months. In this duration, delayed payment surcharge applicable on bills of April, May and June 2020 will be reduced by 50 per cent, from 1.5 per cent earlier to 1 per cent.
The way forward
On the network strengthening front, the discom plans to add 1,230 MVA of 33/11 kV transformer capacity during 2019-20 and 2020-21 to reach 20,616 MVA by 2020-21. It aims to add 15,700 ckt. km of line length over the same period to reach a line length of 339,886 ckt. km by 2020-21. Around 64 per cent of the capacity addition is planned for LT lines. CSPDCL’s planned capex for 2019-20 and 2020-21 is Rs 16.31 billion.
That said, RPO non-compliance, delays in the payment of subsidy by the state government and a high share of employee costs as compared to total revenue are some of the challenges that the discom has to tackle. CSPDCL’s planned smart grid initiatives are expected to improve the utility’s performance and modernise its network as it works towards meeting the demands of its large consumer base.