Dec 07, 2017 02:45 PM IST | Source:

Loadshedding to be a crime, metering to be pre-paid under govt's 2019 'power for all' plan

Singh also asked them to roll out the Saubhagya scheme in their states to provide power connections to 4 crore families by December, 2018.

The Centre and the states have agreed on a comprehensive range of measures including pre-paid metering and zero loadshedding to usher in the government's 24X7 power for all objective by March 2019, according to R.K. Singh, the Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy.

"After March 2019, losses which will have to be accounted for in fixing tariff, will have to be capped at 15 per cent," he told journalists after meeting states' power ministers and their representatives.

In a far reaching step that holds potential for changing the face of the power sector in the country, he said it had been decided to have as much as 90 per cent of metering on pre-paid basis.

"We are doing away with human interface. All metering will be pre-paid except some large consumers," he said.

He said the states had agreed on cutting technical and commercial losses to below 15 per cent by March 2019.

Loadshedding -- an euphemism for scheduled power cuts -- will be made a criminal offence unless it's due to a technical fault or an act of god, according to Singh.

"We will make it (no loadshedding) a legal obligation," the power minister said, adding the onus of ensuring uninterrupted power supply will be on distribution companies, failing which they will be penalised.

It has also been decided to cap the extent of cross subsidy at 20 per cent, he said. He said any power sector subsidy will now have to be transferred directly to the beneficiary's account under the government's direct cash transfer benefit scheme.

The government also seems to have taken a serious view of states and other buyers not respective power purchase agreements, he said, "Any tariff fixed after bidding, the PPA has to be respected".

To also make billing transparent and easier to understand, the number of slabs for calculating power consumption, the minister said these would be rescued to 15. There are states with as many as 60 slabs currently, he said.
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