The government says farmers are of the view that metering would help the state and the Centre to have a relook at the subsidies claimed by power distribution companies.

Install meters to measure power supply to agriculture sector AP govt to discomsImage For Representation
news Administration Monday, February 17, 2020 - 15:08

All power distribution companies in Andhra Pradesh have been asked by the state government to arrange a metering system to measure power supply from distribution transformers dedicated to the agriculture sector in the state. The press statement from the State Energy Conservation Mission (SECM) on Sunday talks about setting up the meters only at the transformer level.

A Chandrashekhar Reddy, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the SECM said that the request to set up meters came from the farmer associations. Speaking to TNM, he said that this is a central government initiative and fully funded by the Centre. “There will no billing as the meter will be only at the transformer level. There are a few lakh transformers that serve the agriculture sector and will need to be metered. The metering system is called Real-time Distribution Matrix and helps in understanding how much power has been supplied through the transformer in real-time. It will help us ensure we supply power during daytime when farmers need it the most.”

The SECM says farmers are of the view that metering would help the state and the Centre to have a relook at the subsidies claimed by power distribution companies. Discoms in Andhra Pradesh often claim the uninterrupted free power supply to the agriculture sector as a reason for their financial losses.

SECM claimed that power utilities in the state have faced a loss of Rs 33,719 crore in December 2019 while the loss was at Rs 7,069 crore in March 2014. The operational and capital expenditure of the power utilities also shot up during this period.

The distribution companies have now been asked to set up metering systems for measuring power supply from distribution transformers dedicated to agricultural sector in the state. The direction came from the Centre, states SECM.

Speaking to TNM, Kiran Vissa from the Rythu Swaraj Vedika, said that not all farmer associations were favourable to the idea of metering at the distribution transformer level, some were apprehensive as they view the metering as a step towards billing the farmers. "The power distribution companies while claiming losses pin the blame on providing free power to the agriculture sector. Metering at the transformer level would give more clarity and an accurate idea of how much power the agriculture sector approximately consumes. Though there is free power to the agriculture sector in both Telugu states, not all farmers get free power. Farmers in districts that have canal irrigation systems from the Nagarjuna Sagar dam do not avail free power. The canals are mostly used by upper-caste large land owning farmers and the Dalit farmers eventually have to rely on bore wells and get billed huge amounts," he adds.

Rythu Swaraj Vedika welcomed the metering move by the Center and state.

The Centre has also directed power distribution companies to compile the metering status of distribution transformers by the fifth day of every month. The reports are to be sent to the Central Electricity Authority.

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