‘Discoms restructure plan will save Rs.1.8 lakh crore’

Mumbai, Nov 10 (IANS) The Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (Uday), restructuring package for state electricity distribution companies (discoms) approved by the union cabinet, will eventually save Rs.180,000 crore annually, Power Minister Piyush Goyal has said.

“Almost all the state power ministers heartily welcomed the new initiative during the conference held in Kochi last week,” a statement issued on Tuesday quoted Goyal as saying at an investors’ meet here on Monday.

“The weakest link in the power value chain is distribution, wherein discoms in the country have accumulated losses of approximately Rs.3.8 lakh crore over the past few years,” he said.

Noting that discoms were trapped in a vicious cycle with operational losses being funded by debt, Goyal said they were not charging fair tariff for the electricity consumed and, as a result, are unable to supply adequate power at affordable rates.

With the losses of electricity distribution companies in India touching a staggering Rs.3.8 trillion ($58 billion), the cabinet last week approved a major restructuring and revival package for the sector, with both checks and incentives, to remove what is

considered the weakest link in the government’s ambitious plan of power for all by 2022.

Announcing the cabinet decision to reporters, the minister said the Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (Uday) package includes steps to reduce the interest burden of discoms by as much as 600 basis points, by converting 75 percent of their debt into state governments bonds.

These bonds, he added, will bear the same interest as that for government securities, plus 50 basis points.

Goyal told power ministers of states and union territories at a meeting in Kochi last week that the cabinet-approved Uday would help wipe out the accumulated losses of state electricity distribution companies (discoms) by 2019.

–Indo-Asian News Service

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