The government of Odisha has paid Rs 555.80 crore as of now for Capex programme, which is a power network upgradation plan floated by the state government in association with distribution companies (discoms).
"Till date, the Odisha government has released Rs 555.83 crore, out of which Rs 220.14 have been utilised by the end of November 2013," said Arun Kumar Sahu, minister of energy, in a reply to the state assembly.
The Capex programme was conceptualised in 2010-11 with an outlay of Rs 2,400 crore. Under this plan, the state government worked out a package to mop up the required expenditure through debt mode abandoning its earlier move of equity mode. The scheme had stipulated that while the state will organise Rs 1,200 crore including Rs 500 crore grant from 13th Finance Commission, the discoms will raise the rest. It paid Rs 205.00 crore in 2010-11, Rs 215.83 crore in 2011-12 and Rs 135.00 crore in 2012-13 for the upgradation plan, the minister said.
The plan has been non-performer because of delays in not providing matching shares by the discoms. As on December 2012, three discoms, Nesco, Wesco and Southco controlled by Reliance Infra had paid Rs 80 crore, against their dues of Rs 120 crore. The other discom in the state, Central Electricity Supply Utility (CESU), managed by Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC), had provided its share for the period.
Sensing the failure of the Capex project due to poor financial health of the discoms, the state government this October, launched a Rs 2,600 crore scheme on its own to develop power network and installations of nearly 500 substations. This scheme will run in addition to Capex plan.
"Although private sector participation was allowed in electricity distribution way back in the year 1999 to achieve the objectives of technical up-gradation and infusion of necessary funds, the achievement is far from satisfactory. The financial health of discoms being poor, it has become imperative for the state government to invest in power distribution infrastructure in order to provide quality power to the people of Odisha," the government had said during the launch of the scheme.
Upgradation of power distribution infrastructure needed extra attention from the state government as Odisha currently has 588 substations in total with 193 - 33 kV sub-stations separated by a distance of more than 30 km, resulting in huge transmission losses. Besides, rising consumer base of the state, which has gone up by five times to 5 million within a span of 13 years, has necessitated the need for upgradation of power distribution infrastructure.
For 2013-14, the state government has sanctioned an amount of Rs 100 crore for setting up of new substations and laying cable lines. The funds will be released in small instalments within a span of three years.