CSPDCL: Steady improvement in performance

Steady improvement in performance

Chhattisgarh’s electricity infrastructure has grown well in recent years to meet the demand of an expanding consumer base. The state’s energy supply deficit has reduced from 1.7 per cent in 2014-15 to 0.1 per cent in 2020-21, as per the Central Electricity Authority. Although the state’s peak power demand has increased from 3,817 MW to 4,682 MW in the same period, the peak power deficit has declined to zero as of March 2021 vis-à-vis 4.7 per cent in March 2015 owing to sufficient power availability. Contributing to the growth of the power sector in Chhattisgarh is the state-owned distribution company, Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Limited (CSPDCL). Incorporated in January 2009, it is responsible for the distribution and retail supply of electricity to more than 5.75 million customers across the state.

CSPDCL has been taking measures to improve its performance over the years. This is reflected in the improvement of its rating from B to B+ in the Seventh Annual Integrated Rating report released by the Power Finance Corporation (October 2019). The discom’s aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses have reduced significantly over the years from 22.41% to 17.3 per cent. The state has also achieved 100 per cent household electrification under the Saubhagya scheme. It has made progress under other schemes such as the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) and the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS).

Existing infrastructure and operations

As of March 2021, CSPDCL’s total line length stood at 352,788 ckt. km, of which 59 per cent line length was at the LT level, 35 per cent at the 11 kV level, and the remaining 6 per cent at the 33 kV level. During the seven-year period since March 2015, the line length has witnessed a CAGR of 5.19 per cent. The majority of the lines are overhead and a very low percentage is laid underground. Further, the utility has 1,321 substations at the 33/11 kV and 191,831 substations at the 11 kV level. The total number of substations grew at a CAGR of 9.05 per cent between March 2015 and March 2021. CSPDCL’s total transformer capacity stood at 18,833 MVA as of March 2020, recording a growth of 6.34 per cent since 2014-15.

The discom’s consumer base increased at a CAGR of 6.04 per cent between 2014-15 and 2019-20. In the total consumer base (5.76 million as of March 2020), the majority (83.16 per cent) share was held by domestic consumers (4.7 million), followed by agricultural consumers, which accounted for a 9.5 per cent share (0.54 million). Commercial consumers accounted for a 6.14 per cent share (0.3 million), while the rest was held by industrial consumers and other consumers such as street lights and waterworks.

In 2019-20, the discom recorded energy sales of 22,793 MUs, an increase of 2.62 per cent over the sales in 2018-19. Industrial consumers accounted for the largest share in energy sales at 40 per cent (9,091 MUs), followed by domestic (5,606 MUs) and agricultural (5,082 MUs) consumers with shares of 25 per cent and 22 per cent respectively. Commercial (2,551 MUs) and other (463 MUs) consumers accounted for the remaining share of 11 per cent and 2 per cent in energy sales respectively.

In terms of operational performance, CSPDCL recorded a billing efficiency of 89.09 per cent and a collection efficiency of 99.52 per cent in March 2020. Its AT&C losses have been decreasing for the past many years to stand at 17.31 per cent in 2019-20. The System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) and System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) stood at 72 and 2,005 respectively, as of March 2020. The distribution transformer failure rate was 0.07 per cent in 2019-20, a significant decrease from 8.29 per cent in 2014-15.

Key initiatives

The discom has been executing several projects under central and state government schemes such as the IPDS, DDUGJY, UDAY, Mukhya Mantri Shahri Vikas Yojna (MSVY), Mukhya Mantri Majra Tola Vidyutikaran Yojana (MMMTVY), and Sub-Transmission and System Improvement [ST and SI] Scheme. As per the petition for the approval of the capital investment plan for 2021-22 (dated January 2021) filed by CSPDCL with the state regulator, the discom will meet about 83 per cent of the capex approved by the commission for 2017-21, that is, a capex of Rs 52.7 billion against Rs 63.5 billion has been/expected to be incurred during the five-year period ended March 2021. A major portion of this capex has been spent on the DDUGJY (Rs 11.65 billion), followed by pump set electrification (Rs 6.05 billion), ST and SI (Rs 5.66 billion), the MMMTVY (Rs 4.42 billion) and the IPDS (Rs 3.8 billion).

Some of the physical achievements under the IPDS are the construction of 31 33/11 kV substations, installation of 21 out of 22 planned 33/11 kV additional transformers, renovation and modernisation of 70 33/11 kV substations, and construction of new feeders. Under the DDUGJY, some of the achievements by CSPDCL are the construction of 741 km of 33 kV lines, 80 new 33/11 kV substations; and installation of 9,887 DTRs and 8,511 meters. Under the agricultural pump set energisation scheme funded by the state government, CSPDCL is extending distribution lines and installing transformers for agricultural consumers. Meanwhile, under the MSVY, the discom is strengthening the urban distribution system to meet the growing power demand through measures such as installation of aerial bunched conductors and underground cabling.

Recently, CSPDCL has relaunched a mobile application, Mor Bijlee, through which consumers can avail of over 16 electricity-related services without the need to visit electricity offices. With this, it has become the first state discom to offer doorstep services through a mobile application.

Financial performance

During 2019-20, the company recorded revenue (provisional) of Rs 154.54 billion, a decline of nearly 5 per cent over Rs 162 billion in the previous year. The company’s losses stood at Rs 11.03 billion in 2019-20 vis-à-vis a loss of about Rs 1.4 billion in the previous year. As of March 2020, its outstanding debt stood at Rs 38.49 billion. The total expenditure stood at Rs 164.61 billion and power purchase costs accounted for the largest proportion of expenditure at more than Rs 138 billion or 84 per cent.

The way forward

For the ongoing fiscal, CSPDCL has sought CSERC’s approval to undertake a capex of Rs 21.6 billion. This includes a proposed expenditure of nearly Rs 12 billion for smart metering. CSPDCL aims to replace existing meters of 1.2 million consumers across 20 R-APDRP towns (excluding agricultural, AMR and HT connections) by smart meters. (The funding and area of supply may change in line with central government notifications with regard to smart metering.)

On the network expansion front, the company has planned an addition of 46,300 ckt. km of distribution lines, 80 ckt km of underground cables, over 48,000 substations, as well as transformer capacity of 1,880 MVA between 2020-21 and 2025-26. Net, net, the company has laid out an ambitious capacity addition plan to meet the growing electricity demand of its large consumer base.