IT can help bring down energy losses: Jairam Ramesh

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Bangalore, Oct 30 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh today said use of Information Technology could help in bringing down the Transmission and Distribution (TD) losses in power supply which was causing huge losses to the country's exchequer.

Speaking after releasing the report 'Technology: Enabling Transformation of Power Distribution in India', prepared jointly by CSTEP and Infosys, he said the country's TD losses, now called Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses of about 33,000 MW of power was hindering the growth of the economy.

''Every per cent of AT &C losses mean the country lose 1000 MW of power. To set up this much of capacity it costs USD one billion. It is high time we brought down this losses,'' he said.

The report observed that India's power sector, in particular the distribution sector, must undergo a fundamental transformation to serve the country's economic growth and social needs.

Power generation would need to grow at 4 to 5 times from the current capacity to keep up with the desired economic growth. The country had to develop 'smart grids', the state-of-the-art transmission and distribution infrastructure that could serve for several decades, the report also observed.

Mr Ramesh said under Accelerated Power Development Programme (APDP), launched to restore commercial viability of distribution sector, envisaged the need to bring the AT &C losses to 15 per cent.

In achieving this mark IT could play a major role, he said.

''In Delhi the AT &C losses is at a whopping 58 per cent of which theft forms 45 per cent. The highest theft is committed in South Delhi and use of illegal air conditioners are the biggest culprit,'' he added.

He said the states, which had not done much to bring down the AT &C losses were Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

The states should emulate Himachal Pradesh which has brought down the AT &C losses to just 13 per cent two years ago, he added.

He said the country was adding 14,000 MW of power production capacity every year and at the end of the 11th Five Years Plan the country would have 78,000 MW of additional power generation capacity.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who was also present, said the power sector was a state subject and this was the reason structural reforms proposed earlier, could not be implemented.

''The Centre is striving to help state governments to bring down AT &C losses by offering sops. It had also said that no grants would be provided for new capacity if the AT &C losses were not brought down,'' he said.

The country was bringing down the losses by one per cent every year. But, appropriate steps should be taken to bring it down to four per cent to achieve the proposed growth in the energy sector, he added.

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