Gujarat tops in discom rankings again

The four power distribution companies (discoms) of Gujarat have topped an annual ranking by the Union power ministry for the fifth year in a row. 

Uttar Pradesh, on the other hand, had not budged from its position at the bottom, the ministry noted in a report. 

These rankings mean more now as financially beleaguered power utilities undergo restructuring under the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme.

Uttrakhand Power Corporation, which has made continuous improvements in curbing transmission losses and has a collection efficiency of 107.8 per cent with no subsidy from the state government, has moved to the top slot alongside the Gujarat utilities.

The cost coverage ratio for 25 of the 41 rated utilities remained below 0.9 due to increase in expenses and non-cost reflective tariffs, the report said.

Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh were the best performers in cost coverage and Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation, Kanpur Electricity Supply Company, Madhyanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam and Jodhpur Vidyut Vitaran Nigam have shown more than 15 per cent improvement on this parameter.

Kanpur Electricity Supply Company, which moved up one notch to C+, reduced its aggregate technical and commercial losses to 22.1 per cent in 2015-16 from 34.4 per cent in 2014-15. Other discoms in Uttar Pradesh are beset with weak financials, high transmission losses losses and negative net worth.

The Uttar Pradesh utilities, which have piled up Rs 54,000 crore in debts, trail those in Rajasthan, which have debts of Rs 84,000 crore. Jodhpur Vidyut Vitaran Nigam is in B grade and the other two, the ones in Ajmer and Jaipur, are in C grade.

Apart from ranking power distribution companies, the report reviews theirs performance. “There has been an increase in the number of utilities that have filed tariff petitions for 2017-18 on time,” the report said.

Utilities that are lagging typically face high technical and commercial losses and have a moderate collection efficiency. This is accompanied by a weak financial profile of high accumulated losses and receivables.

Utilities that fared well had made significant improvements in curbing transmission losses, tariff realisation and lowering the cost of power supply.

The rating methodology was developed by the power ministry in 2012 and covers only state-owned power distribution utilities.

It is assisted by Central Electricity Authority, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification Corporation, distribution utilities and credit rating agencies CRISIL, Icra and CARE. The methodology is given final shape in consultation with Department of Financial Services (Ministry of Finance), IBA and major public sector banks.

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