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PSEB engineers stress on fuel audit and distribution loss reduction
PSEB Engineers Association has stressed on compulsory fuel audit at all three thermal plants and bringing down distribution losses by shifting meters outside from the consumers' premises. The Association was submitting its view point before the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission at Chandigarh. The commission is holding public hearings at different places to hear viewpoint of all the stakeholders.

The association pointed out that the subject of coal quality testing and its pricing is of critical importance to the PSPCL. Any increase in coal grading during testing either at coal mine site or thermal plant testing laboratory increases the coal cost.

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In case of PANEM coal, the PSPCL is adequately safeguarded by the condition that the coal quality as measured/ tested at receiving end would be counted for purpose of payment. But PSPCL must take adequate safeguards/ precautions taken to ensure the quality of coal is correctly determined at the power plant end.

A senior RTP official said that there had been a number of complaints about coal testing at Ropar thermal plant last year. After an enquiry into test results bungling reports, the testing system has been partially set right. But the main problem being faced is inadequate staff and proper coal sampling collection.

However, in case of Coal India Ltd. practice is for joint sampling/ testing at the loading end for which PSPCL has engaged a testing agency. Due to extreme law and order problems and working methods adopted by CIL companies, the correct sampling/ testing of coal at the loading (coal mine) end cannot be carried out correctly. Private agency engaged by PSPCL is not in a position to check this mal-practice. A very safe assessment of CIL coal supplies is that the GCV is over invoiced to the extent of 800 to 1000 kilo cal./kg.

Another important issue raised by the association was shifting of meters out of consumer premises to bring down the distribution losses. PSPCL has proposed Rs. 150 crore only in the ARR for 2013-14 to shift the domestic meters which is just sufficient for shifting of about 4 lac consumers' meters against the requirement of shifting of 17 lac consumers in rural sector. The target of 4 lacs is therefore very low and the allocation of funds should be increased so as to ensure that all the 17 lac meters are shifted outside during 2013-14 so as to meet the target of reducing the T&D losses.

The Union Power Ministry has sanctioned funds towards network strengthening and loss reduction in 47 towns. An amount of Rs.525.42 crore stands sanctioned on March 2010 and Rs.984.32 crore stands sanctioned on June 2011. In case PSPCL is able to reduce distribution losses below 15% for three years, the most of expenditure will be converted into grants.                               

Whereas, the PSERC Regulations stipulate the condition that true up should be carried out on the basis of audited accounts. With the issue of state government notification in December 2012, the opening balance sheet indicates net assets of Rs. 30,912 crore, and equity of Rs.6081.43 crore. The true up exercise may be taken up on the basis of these notified figures.

The time bound execution of 1320 MW Mukerian thermal station is most essential for meeting the long term energy requirement of Punjab and to economize on power purchase costs in the long run. The association has sought PSERC direction to PSPCL to give a detailed road map and time frame for execution of Mukerian thermal project.

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