New benchmark must for speedy achievement of power for all: Shinde

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New Delhi, Jan 29 (ANI): Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Friday called upon all concerned to establish new benchmarks for achieving the target of 'electricity to all' as expeditiously as possible.

Shinde urged the Power Sector Utilities to keep up the good work and continue their contribution in the task of building a strong infrastructure needed to achieve energy security.

Speaking after giving away the National Awards for Meritorious Performance in Power Sector at Vigyan Bhavan here today, he said that the awards have helped in significant improvement in operating performance, however their impact in expeditious completion of ongoing projects needs to be more pronounced in the years to come.

Expressing satisfaction over the fact that Plant Load Factor (PLF) of a number of thermal power stations is reported to be over 90 percent, Shinde praised the National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd for bagging all the six awards in thermal performance category for Simahdri, Korba, Ramagundam, Vindhyachal, Rihand and Dadri Thermal Power Stations.

He also urged new generating stations to leave no stone unturned for emulating the performance of these stations in the years to come.

Shinde also expressed satisfaction that all the 17 transmission systems, which participated in the Award Scheme, have reported availability above 99.14 percent and the Western Region Transmission System - I of Power Grid Corporation of India Limited has received Gold Shield with availability of 99.91 percent.

Shinde said, "Power Grid also needs special commendation for completing a transmission line of about 400 circuit kilometer and a sub-station in Afghanistan under difficult working conditions, hilly terrain and snow bound area as well as difficult law and order conditions and completing the same ahead of contractual schedule."

"The awards to Rural Distribution Franchisees, started by the Ministry from the year 2007-08, have catalyzed the franchisees and better results would be witnessed from more franchisees in the years to come," he added.

Minister of State for Power Bharatsinh Solanki, who was also present on the occasion, highlighted the performance of Rural Distribution Franchisees, which is being measured in terms of revenue collection, metered services, type of franchise, etc.

"India is the first country where women have come in the business of rural franchisees where they are not only engaged in revenue collection but also in maintaining of the networking equipment," said Solanki.

Congratulating the Mahila Mandal Samakhya, Seethampeta, a franchisee of Eastern Andhra Pradesh Discom for winning the award this time, Solanki wished for continued success of all such organisations in the years to come.

Earlier, Special Secretary Ministry of Power Anil Kumar also addressed the gathering and called for inclusive growth where electricity would reach out to every nook and corner of the country.

Pointing out that India has only 700 units per capita while the world average is about 2700 units, Kumar reminded the players in the power sector of the great expectations in terms of demand which called for capacity addition up to 8,00,000 MW by 2027.

The Comprehensive Awards Scheme was introduced in the year 2004-05 with the objective to develop a spirit of competitiveness among the various power stations / projects / companies in thermal, hydro and nuclear generation, transmission, distribution and rural distribution franchisees for achieving improved performance and early completion of thermal, hydro projects and transmission projects, distribution companies in the power sector.

This scheme also aims at encouraging personnel engaged in the power utilities to improve their efficiency and productivity and show better results. (ANI)

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