Power sector is important not only because it impacts the quality of lives of a large section of population but also affects the growth and development of other sectors such as industry, agriculture, transport, health and education. Power is an expression of development and a medium of transformation. It helps advance a nation from an underdeveloped to developing to a developed one.
With the advent of globalization, the emphasis is on efficiency and customer satisfaction. There is a demand for quality services with stress on transparency and reliability in delivery of the services. The power sector reforms aim at achieving high customer satisfaction with the provision of uninterrupted quality power supply. However, the sector faces a number of challenges. Some of the problems faced are old worn-out and poor distribution network. The tariff structure is skewed. There exist huge transmission and distribution losses due to theft and unmetered supply.
To combat these difficulties and to bring efficiency and commercial viability in the power sector, Restructured–Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP) was launched by the Ministry of Power as a central sector scheme for improving the urban power distribution sector in the country with Power Finance Corporation (PFC) as the nodal agency for its operationalisation and implementation. The focus of the programme is on actual, demonstrable performance in terms of sustained loss reduction, establishment of reliable and automated system for sustained collection of accurate base line data, and the adoption of Information Technology (IT) in the areas of energy accounting as the necessary pre-conditions before sanctioning any project. The programme aims at reduction of AT&C losses upto 15% level through strengthening & up-gradation of Sub Transmission and Distribution network and adoption of Information Technology during XI Plan.
The roots of this scheme can be traced back to the Accelerated Power Development Programme (APDP) launched by the Government in the year 2000-01 when due to poor financial health of State Electricity Boards incurred huge losses. APDP aimed at (i) renovation and modernization, life extension, up rating of old thermal and hydel plants (ii) up gradation and strengthening of Sub Transmission & Distribution networks (below 33kV or 66kV) including energy accounting and metering in distribution circles. In 2002-03, APDP was renamed as Accelerated Power Development and Reforms programme (APDRP). APDRP had wider scope than the APDP. It aimed at increasing revenue collection, reduction of Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT & C) losses, improving customer satisfaction and quality of power supply.
It was in 2008 that R-APDRP was launched as a Central Sector Scheme with a programme size of Rs.51,577 Crore. Its focus was on actual demonstrable performance by utilities in terms of sustained AT& C loss reduction. The projects under the scheme are taken up in two parts: Part A and Part B.
Part A: It covers preparation of baseline data for the project area covering Consumer Indexing, Geographical Information System (GIS) Mapping, Metering of distribution Transformers and Feeders, automatic Data Logging for all Distribution Transformers and Feeders.
The scheme involves establishment of IT enabled system for achieving reliable and verifiable baseline data system in all towns having population more than 30,000 (10,000 in case of special category states), as per 2001 census and installation of Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) / Distribution Management System (DMS) for towns with population greater than 4 lakh and annual input energy greater than 350 MU. In addition, in certain high-load density rural areas with significant loads, works of separation of agricultural feeders from domestic and industrial ones, and of High Voltage Distribution System (11kV) are also taken up. Part-A projects worth Rs.5196.50 crore covering all the eligible towns (1402) in the country have already been sanctioned. So far, 63 Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) projects worth Rs.1443.48crore have also been sanctioned for fifteen States (Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, Punjab, West Bengal, Assam, J&K, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand) under Part-A.
100% funding is provided for the approved projects through loan from the Government.The loan is converted into grant once the establishment of the required system is completed within three years from the date of sanctioning and verified by an independent agency.
Part B: Its focus is on loss reduction on sustainable basis. It involves renovation, modernization and strengthening of 11 kV level substations, Transformers/Transformer centers, Re- conducting of lines at 11 kV level and below, Load Bifurcation, feeder separation, load balancing, High Voltage Distribution Systems (HVDS), Aerial Bunch Cabling in dense areas, replacement of electromagnetic electricity meters with tamper proof electronic meters, installation of capacitor banks and mobile service centers. In exceptional cases, where sub-transmission system is weak, strengthening of 33 kV or 66 kV levels may also be considered. 1086 projects worth Rs.24776.17crore have been approved for twenty States (Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh,Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, J&K and Uttarakhand) under Part-B.
Successful implementation of R-APDRP will pave the way for further modernization of the field of power sector. The financial condition of DISCOMs is very poor. There is a need for good management and tight monitoring of the metering system, timely and correct billing, timely collection, better customer service and reliable power supply to enable DISCOMs restore financial viability. Further, it is very important to have focused implementation of both Part A and Part B of R-APDRP to reduce the AT&C losses and go for implementation of Smart Grids.