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I am pleased to share with you that the Company has done well in 2018-19. Let me begin by briefly sharing the financial results both on standalone and consolidated basis.
- Standalone total income (including other income) was stable at Rs.7,919 crores in 2018-19. Consolidated total income rose by 3.2%, to Rs. 10,868 crores.
- Standalone profit before tax (PBT) from continuing operations grew by 8.3% to Rs. 1,194 crore in 2018-19. Consolidated PBT increased by 26% to Rs. 1,571 crores.
- Standalone profit after tax (PAT) for 2018-19 was up by 8.8% to Rs. 937 crores; while consolidated PAT grew by 22.8% to Rs. 1,198 crores.
These are good results, especially for a mature and regulated business such as electricity generation and distribution. I am happier still with two major operational aspects.
The first has to do with serious on-going efficiency improvements in generation as well as distribution. In 2018-19, both Budge Budge and Haldia, the two key power generation plants for feeding Kolkata and Howrah continued to show industry-leading performance. Budge Budge achieved the fourth highest plant load factor among all thermal power plants in the country; and Haldia was ranked 10th. I am proud to inform you that the CII-GodrejGreen Business Centre conferred upon Budge Budge the award of being an Excellent Energy Efficient Unit in Power Sector'' in 2018; and that Hadia received the highest ''Platinum'' award at the FICCI''s 7th Quality System Excellence Awards in 2019.
There have been significant efficiency and productivity improvements in power distribution as well. As you know, CESC''s distribution infrastructure serves 3.3 million low-tension and high-tension customers across its licenced area. Distribution losses have consistently reduced, and were less than 9% in 2018-19. This is among the very best in any metropolitan area in India.
Over the last five years, your Company has invested significant resources in upgrading the distribution network and making it among the best-in-class. Here are just a few examples.
- During 2018-19, some 1.2 lakh meters were installed on account of new supplies and replacements. Of these, around 12,000 were smart meters.
- We have commissioned self-healing networks for rapid restoration of power. For our 33kV distribution sub-stations and low-tension changeover, the auto-restoration time is less than one second; and for our 6kV ring main units, the auto-restoration time is less than 10 seconds.
- We have used artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to develop fault prediction tools for underground cables; and are conducting trials for the remote monitoring of distribution equipment.
Second, over the last several years, we have consistently focused on customer needs.
- We added around 78,000 new customers in 2018-19. The average time to provide a new connection was 1-2 days. And for premises with an existing connection, supply typically starts within 24 hours of payment and compliance.
- During 2018-19,100% of the applications for new connections were received online — itself a tribute to our e-services network.
- By the end of 2018-19, some 45% of our low-tension customers were making online payments, which accounted for half the revenue.
- Your Company''s centralised 24x7 call centre is now the primary touch point for all complaints and queries. All calls are guided through an interactive voice recording system, docketed and then routed to the concerned department for rapid resolution.
- CESC''s 24x7 low-tension control room and use of radio-linked as well as GPS-enabled mobile service vans at strategic locations have helped in faster restoration of power supply.
- In addition, we have started using chatbots. One of these, called ''eBuddy'' provides interactive assistance to customers.
I would venture to say that your Company now provides best-in-class customer service to its consumers.
My additional sense of satisfaction comes from the awards that your Company has won in the. course of its serving 3.3 million customers in Kolkata and Howrah, as well as those elsewhere. The chapter on Management Discussion and Analysis lists some of these awards for 2018-19. I dare say that CESC has received some 100 national awards over the last five years of service.
As you know, your Company, through its associate / subsidiaries, have distribution ventures in Uttar Pradesh (for Greater Noida), Rajasthan (for Kota, Bharatpur and Bikaner) and, most recently in Maharashtra (for Malegaon). It is too early to comment on Malegaon. I am happy to inform you that other distribution franchises are doing well, both operationally and financially.
I am also proud of the people who run CESC. On a standalone basis, your Company has over 8,400 employees on its payroll. They are all best-in-class, and it is because of them and your Company''s employee oriented work ethos that CESC has won several national awards and recognitions for its employee friendly human resource practices.
Let me end with a concern. All power distribution companies operate under tight regulatory controls, and CESC is no exception. Sometimes, these controls are used to force reductions in power tariffs or stringently limit rate increases. We need to be careful of some of these interventions, especially of the more populist kind. For they can be akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. This hasn''t happened yet. But it is fair to underscore it as a risk.
Thank you for your support to CESC. I, on my part, promise to deliver results that lead to satisfied consumers and, hence, contented shareholders.
17 May, 2019 Chairman