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Power engineers oppose conditional financial bailout package
Suggesting that transmission line losses can be reduced departmentally, Northern India Power Engineers Federation (NIPEF) has opposed the conditional financial bailout package for debt restructuring of power utilities, as the conditions attached were 'unacceptable'.

NIPEF HELD its federal council meeting at Patiala on Sunday and discussed the pitfalls of financial restructuring plan of Government of India for power utilities. The bailout package as contained in the scheme comes with many riders. The riders are the participation of private sector in power distribution, enactment of model draft legislation by the states, which would include franchising or privatisation of distribution.

NIPEF is of firm view that franchisee is not the only way to reduce transmission and distribution losses and the same can be done departmentally with given administrative support. Padamjit Singh, chairman AIPEF said that line losses have been reduced successfully in Punjab, Eastern Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh through departmental schemes of loss reduction.

Federal executive of NIPEF decided to make a presentation before Haryana power utilities management on how to reduce transmission losses as has been done in Patiala and subsequently followed in other parts of Punjab. NIPEF criticized the proposed feeder wise franchisee to reduce line losses in Haryana.

NIPEF is of firm opinion that transmission losses can be brought down in Haryana if the power utility replicate Patiala model. Bhupinder Singh, vice president of PSEB Engineers association said that that AT&C losses in Patiala were in range of 23 to 24% and same has been brought down to 17% in two years. As on date these losses are around 14%. The in-house expenditure was minimum as compared to outsourcing.

Shaliender Dubey, secretary general AIPEF said that franchisee model in power distribution has failed in Nagpur, Aurangabad, Jalgaon and Agra. The franchisees are getting power at cheaper rates and supplying to consumers at higher rates. They are not returning arrears of revenue recovered and delaying payments for very long period. The financial securities of utilities have been hit hard in the process.

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