Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has undertaken several major steps to help the entire state in becoming a power surplus state. Baldev Singh Sran, the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of PSPCL, revealed the details of this journey and talked about the success of the digital payment initiative by the corporation, as well as other innovative steps underway. He talked with Priya Yadav of Elets News Network (ENN). Read on to learn what they discussed.
From a power deficit State to a power surplus State – how has been the journey and what has brought about this transformation?
From the early days of power cuts, weekly off days, load restrictions and regulatory measures, PSPCL became what it is today thanks to three Independent Power Procedures or IPPs. These are NPL, TSPL, and GVK. PSPCL met the highest demands in 2018 of 12,556 MW, in comparison to 11,705 MW in 2017. Its own record was surpassed with 2,749 LUs within a state on August 4, 2018, the highest energy supplied in a day ever.
What is the status of power supply in Punjab after the State become power surplus?
PSPCL continually and successfully provides eight hours of daily power to the sector of agriculture in paddy season and an uninterrupted power supply to all consumer categories and industries. No power cuts happen, while restrictions and regulatory measures are a thing of history. The company also sells the surplus power it has.
What digital initiatives have been taken up and how are they helping in streamlining the system?
The consumers of PSPCL can make payments electrically through Internet Banking, credit and debit cards, Rupay Card, mobile wallets, Billdesk, PayU, Paytm and BBPS. In addition, also available are RTGS / NEFT payments through SBI. To promote all of these digital payments, consumers receive incentives for cash back on electricity bills. What is more, there is free of charge service of bill payments for PSPCL consumers.
How are cashless transactions being encouraged and how have they helped the people?
PSPCL gave out instructions on making digital payments mandatory for consumers over a certain bill amount. Furthermore, methods like radio ads, print advertisements, SMS, flex banners and messages on the bills themselves are used to this end.
PSPCL is now on 4th place for online payments, according to Consumer Dashboard on Government of India’s Urja App. India averages 19%, while PSPCL has an average of 23.64%.
On July 16, 2018, PSPCL had a record payment through digital means. Throughout that month, 44.43% of all bills were digitally paid, the highest ever percentage in the country in a single month.
What are the Transmission and Distribution losses of PSPCL and what is being done to reduce these?
We achieved 13.62% of T&D losses in the fiscal year of 2017-2018. The company was started in 2010, and back then, losses were at 20.12%. Many further improvements are constantly being done to limit the losses even more.
Punjab is an agriculture intensive State and lot of power is required to fulfill its needs. What is the policy and reforms undertaken in this area?
Per one Punjab Government notification, eight hours of daily power have to be provided to the agriculture, which has been done successfully. There is also a pilot project “Paani Bachao, Paise Kamao”, which is a scheme of Direct Benefit Transfer for Electricity to AP consumers of six feeders in Fatehgarh Sahib, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur districts. This has the sole purpose of saving groundwater in Punjab. Because of the high consumption of groundwater for cultivation, agricultural consumers are encouraged to save water and earn money while doing it.
Now that Punjab is power surplus, what is the power sale policy?
Regarding the surplus sales, PSPCL has a dedicated cell that manages the sales. PTC and TPTCL are in charge of this power. The company is now considering tenders in order to sell the surplus power. Regarding arrangements and banking, there are collaborations with Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.
What can the people of the State look forward to in terms of power expenses?
Gap of Average Cost of Supply (ACS) and Average Revenue Realised (ARR) are i -0.68 for the 2017-18 fiscal year. This will come down with timely payments of subsidies by the state government. There is a two-part tariff implemented in Punjab, in effect since January 1, 2018. It is introduced to provide electricity to consumers at certain lower rates. Fixed charges are lower than the Monthly Minimum Charges of the Single-Part Tariff. The consumers will probably need more power, so in Two-Part Tariff, the per unit rate is lower.