Staging a Recovery

Improved operational performance by power utilities post-Covid

The operational performance of po­wer utilities has improved during the past year, with an increase in econo­mic activities post-Covid. Power de­ma­nd has increased, which is also reflected in the rising utilisation levels, measured by the plant load factor (PLF) of thermal po­wer plants (TPPs). The majority of the state transmission utilities fared well in the past year, reporting a decline in transmission losses. The aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses of disco­ms have also reduced, although 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…

Generation

The national PLF of TPPs stood at 58.87 per cent during 2021-22, an increase of 4.3 percentage points from the 54.57 per cent recorded during 2020-21. Mean­while, the PLF for the April-August 2022 period stood at 65.26 per cent (tentative).

Of the 34 utilities tracked by Power Line Research during 2021-22, 26 utilities re­ported an increase in PLF over the previous year. The highest PLF (at 94.19 per cent) was reported by Sasan Power Limi­ted, which operates the 3,960 MW Sasan ultra mega power project in Madhya Pradesh, followed by Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) with a PLF of 88.97 per cent. SCCL operates the 1,200 MW Singareni TPP in Telangana.

Sector-wise, the central sector recorded the highest PLF during 2021-22. The av­e­rage PLF of central sector-owned plan­ts stood at 69.71 per cent, higher than the 63.47 per cent recorded in the previous year. In the state sector, the PLF was recorded at 54.5 per cent during 2021-22, much hi­gher than the 46.23 per cent recorded a year ago. In the private sector, PLFs decreased from 54.66 per cent during 2020-21 to 53.62 per cent during 2021-22 .

Among central utilities, NTPC Limited recorded a PLF of 70.82 per cent during 2021-22, about 4.54 percentage points hi­gher than its previous year’s record of 66.29 per cent. NTPC’s best performing plant during 2021-22 was the Korba super thermal power station (STPS) in Chhat­tisgarh, which recorded a PLF of 93.28 per cent, whereas its lowest PLF was recorded at its Kudgi STPS in Kar­nataka at 31.91 per cent. Among other central sector uti­li­ties, the Damo­dar Valley Corporation re­cor­­ded an increase of 6.4 percentage poi­nts in its PLF, from 62.39 per cent during 2020-21 to 68.79 per cent during 2021-22, whereas the PLF of NLC India Limited in­creased from 56.88 per cent to 71.60 per cent during 2021-22.

At the state level, SCCL was the best performing utility with 88.97 per cent PLF during 2021-22, which is well above the average state sector PLF of 54.5 per ce­nt as well as the national average. Telan­ga­na State Power Generation Corporat­ion Limited was the second-best perfor­ming state utility with a PLF of 75.71 per cent, followed by West Bengal Power De­ve­lopment Corporation Limited with a PLF of over 72.44 per cent and Chha­t­tis­garh State Power Generation Compa­ny Limited with a PLF of 70.4 per cent during 2021-22. Only three state utilities – An­dhra Pradesh Power Development Com­­pany Limited, Durgapur Projects Li­­­­mited and Tenughat Vidyut Nigam Li­mited – recorded a decline in PLF during 2021-22 vis-à-vis 2020-21 and the rest reported an increase as compared to the previous year’s level. The biggest in­crease in PLF was reported by Andhra Pra­­desh Power Generation Corporation Li­mited (APGenco) and Karnataka Po­w­er Corporation Limited (KPCL). The PLF increased by 25.82 percentage poi­nts from 35.84 per cent during 2020-21 to 61.66 per cent during 2021-22 in the ca­se of APGenco. Meanwhile, KPCL re­cor­ded an increase of 21.01 percentage points from 23.44 per cent during 2020-21 to 44.45 per cent during 2021-22.

In the private sector, PLFs varied widely from 25.94 per cent to 94.19 per cent. CESC Limited, Essar Power Madhya Pra­­de­­sh Limited, Jindal India Thermal Pri­vate Limited (JITPL), RattanIndia Po­wer Li­mited, Adani Electricity Mumbai Li­m­i­ted (AEML) (Dahanu TPP), Tata Po­w­er (Trombay TPS) and Torrent Power Limi­ted (Sabarmati TPP) witnessed an inc­re­ase in PLFs during the review period. All ot­her private sector utilities registered a decline in their PLFs. Six private uti­lities reported PLFs higher than the national average. These were JITPL, Ratt­an­India, AEML, Sasan Power Limit­ed, Tata Power (Tro­mbay TPS) and Torr­e­nt Po­w­er Limi­t­ed (Sabarmati TPP). The highest year-on-year decline in PLF was reported by Co­astal Gujarat Power Limi­ted, which saw its PLF go down from 74.8 per cent du­r­ing 2020-21 to 25.94 per cent during 2021-22.

Meanwhile, the highest year-on-ye­ar in­c­rease in PLF was reported by Ra­ttan­India Power Limited, which saw its PLF go up from 23.98 per cent during 2020-21 to 75.1 per cent du­ring 2021-22. Me­anwhile, Essar Power Gujarat Limi­ted did not register any generation during 2021-22.

Transmission

The performance of state transmission utilities improved during 2021-22 and utilities tracked by Power Line Research reported transmission losses in the ra­n­ge of 0.75 per cent (Himachal Pra­de­sh Power Transmission Corporation Limit­ed [HPPTCL]) to 3.75 per cent (Megha­la­ya Power Transmission Corporation Limited) during 2021-22.

Of the 17 utilities for which data is available for 2021-22, 10 utilities registered a decline in their transmission losses during 2021-22 over the previous year, while six registered an increase (Transmission Corporation of Telangana Limited, Tra­n­s­mission Corporation of Andhra Prade­sh Limited, Madhya Pradesh Pow­er Tra­ns­mi­ssion Company Limited, Ma­ha­ra­s­h­tra State Electricity Transmission Com­pany Limited, Rajasthan Rajya Vi­dyut Pra­saran Nigam Limited, and Guja­rat En­­er­gy Tran­smi­ssion Corporation Limi­ted) and one uti­lity HPPTCL did not register any change.

Among the utilities tracked, HPPTCL reported the least transmission losses at 0.75 per cent, followed by Power Trans­mission Corporation of Uttarakhand Li­mi­ted with 1 per cent transmission loss. Meanwhile, Punjab State Transmission Corporation Limited, Madhya Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation Limit­ed, Karnataka Power Transmission Cor­po­ration Limited, Transmission Corpo­ration of Telangana Limited, Transmis­s­ion Corporation of Andhra Pradesh, Har­yana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Limited and Bihar State Power Transmission Co­m­pany Limited are other state utilities that re­corded losses of 2-3 per cent during 2021-22. The rest of the state transcos re­ported losses in the range of 3-3.75 per cent, including state utilities of Megha­la­­ya, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Ra­jast­han, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Ma­ha­rashtra. The transco with the highest loss of 3.75 per cent was the Meghalaya Power Transmission Corporation.

Distribution

Data was collated by Power Line Resear­ch for 60 discoms (46 state-owned distribution utilities and 14 private utilities) from tariff orders, BEE energy audit re­po­rt and company reports. It is observed that among state utilities, AT&C losses ranged from as low as 5.16 per cent for Uttar Gujarat Vij Company Limited (UGVCL) to as high as 65 per cent for the Jammu & Kashmir Power Development Department (JKPDD) during 2021-22.  Overall, most of the state utilties have reported a dec­line in AT&C losses during 2021-22 vis-à-vis 2020-21. The most significant impro­vements were reported by Andhra Pra­de­sh Eastern Power Distribu­tion Com­pa­ny Limited (APEPDCL), An­dh­ra Pradesh Central Power Distribu­ti­on Company Limited (APCPDCL), Cha­mun­deshwari Electricity Supply Com­pa­ny Limited (CESCOM), and Maha­rashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL), which reported a decline of over 10 percentage points in AT&C losses.

Among state utilities, UGVCL was the best performer with AT&C losses of 5.16 per cent during 2021-22. In addition, 12 state-owned utilities reported/estimated AT&C losses of less than 15 per cent during 2021-22. These are UGVCL, APEPDCL, APCPDCL, the Goa Power Depar­t­­ment, Dakshin Gujarat Vij Company Limited (DGVCL), Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Limited (MGVCL), Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited (DHBVNL), Uttar Har­ya­na Bijli Vitran Ni­gam Limit­ed (UHBVNL), Chamun­de­shwari Elec­tri­city Supply Company Li­mi­ted (CESCOM), Gulbarga Electricity Su­pply Com­pany Limited (GESCOM), Ban­galo­re Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM), and Ajmer Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited (AVVNL).

The worst performing state-owned utilities during 2021-22 were JKPDD, Dakshinanchal Vidyut Vitran Ni­gam Limited (DVVNL) and South Bi­h­ar Power Distribution Com­pany Limited (SBPDCL) with AT&C losses of 65 per cent, 38.24 per cent and 34 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, private sector discoms continued to report a steady performance with losses of less than 10 per cent over the past couple of years. Only the four Odisha discoms, which were acquired by Tata Power during 2019-20 and 2020-21, have losses of 23 per cent-33 per cent. Tata Power Mumbai’s AT&C losses during 2021-22 were less than 1 per cent.

Meanwhile, Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited reported AT&C loss of 6.55 per cent during 2021-22. Among Delhi discoms, BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL), BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) and Tata Power Delhi Distribu­ti­on Limited recorded AT&C losses of 7.27 per cent, 6.87 per cent and 6.8 per cent re­spectively. In Gujarat, AT&C losses of Torrent Power-Surat and Torrent Power-Ahmedabad stood at 3.72 per cent and 4.32 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, No­ida Power Company Limited’s (NPCL) AT&C loss was recorded at 7.95 per cent. Other private discoms (which reported T&D losses during the review period) also improved their performance. The T&D loss for India Power in West Bengal was recorded at 3 per cent.

Conclusion

Overall, power utilities have seen a recovery in their operational performan­ce post-Covid-19. The thermal power generation segment was reeling with declining PLFs, which has improved with the resumption of economic activities and in­crease in power consumption. The electricity distribution segment has se­en some improvement in its operational performance. However, the go­vernme­nt’s recently launched Revamp­ed Distri­bu­tion Sector Scheme is expected to stren­g­then the distribution network and im­prove the operational and fin­ancial per­formance of utilities. Additio­nally, the la­te payment surcharge rules will allow discoms to clear their past dues in eq­uated monthly installments. This will improve the financial position of the segment, which has so far re­ma­ined the weakest link in the electricity value chain.

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