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Benefit Plea For DISCOMs

Bhubaneswar: The State Government has approached the Union Government to allow Private DISCOMs to reap the benefits of Central Government schemes based on power sector reforms.

The Ministry of Finance has been requested to include such provisions in the forthcoming Annual Budget-2023 to be presented on February 1.

The State Government has pointed out that Odisha has been a pioneer in Power Sector reform since 1995 and adopted the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model in the distribution sector.

The State Government continues to hold 49% equity in the PPP entities and any Central Government reform scheme should have provisions for funding private DISCOMs also.

In the past, the DISCOMs of Odisha were deprived of Central Government funding from Schemes like UDAY, APDRP/R-APDRP, etc. on the grounds of private ownership.

On implementation of any reform-linked government schemes, the ownership of the assets will remain with the State Government, which will help to keep electricity tariff low and the benefits of the Scheme will be available to consumers of the State.

Odisha should be included in the schemes as the ultimate benefit of the schemes goes to the consumers through tariff setting mechanism.

Similarly, once again Odisha has raised the issue of funding for disaster resilient infrastructure in the power sector.

It has been pointed out that severe to very severe cyclonic storms have become an annual affair for the State.

Such natural disasters not only affect the livelihood of the citizens of the State, but also severely damages electrical infrastructure of the State along with other infrastructure, which causes heavy financial loss to the State and high inconvenience to the citizens on all fronts due to lack of power supply for days at a stretch.

In spite of all precautions taken, the possibility of loss of life as a collateral damage due to damage to overhead electrical infrastructure cannot be completely ruled out.

During the visit of the Prime Minister to Odisha post cyclone “Amphan” and also after the cyclone “Yaas”, Odisha has made requests for the resilient infrastructure support.

The State has an estimated requirement of Rs.25,000 crore for creation of Disaster Resilient Infrastructure with selective underground cabling up to 30 km from the coastline.

The CEA Task Force on Cyclone Resilient Robust Electricity Transmission & Distribution Infrastructure in coastal areas of the Country has finalised its Report in March 2021 and recommended for improving the resiliency of Transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure in the coastal areas.

Therefore, Central Government should consider for extending necessary financial support to Cyclonic Disaster-prone States for construction of Disaster Resilient Power Network availing necessary international technological support on sharing of knowledge/experience with similar disaster-prone areas like Florida and Japan etc, pointed out the State Government in its latest Memorandum, said a senior official.