After maintaining a strong momentum for many years, the power sector witnessed a fizzling out of conventional generation capacity addition in 2018-19. The thermal segment added only about 5,782 MW of capacity in 2018-19 as against 8,710 MW in 2017-18. The country’s largest power generator, NTPC Limited added the maximum thermal capacity during this period. The hydro segment was dry too, with only 140 MW of capacity being added with the commissioning of two projects and there was no capacity addition in the nuclear segment.
On the transmission side, central transmission major Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (Powergrid) continued to be the leading player in terms of line length addition. It was followed by state power transco Uttar Pradesh Power Transmission Company Limited (UPPTCL). Meanwhile, in the distribution segment, the two Gujarat state-owned discoms – Dakshin Gujarat Vij Company Limited (DGVCL) and Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Limited (MGVCL) – were the leading state utilities accounting for the lowest aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses. Meanwhile, Kanpur Electricity Supply Company Limited maintained its position with lowest gap between average cost of supply (ACS) and average revenue realised (ARR), another key discom health parameter.
Indian Infrastructure takes a look at the top performers in terms of capacity addition in the sector during 2018-19…
The thermal generation segment saw a total capacity addition of 5,781.75 MW in 2018-19, against a target of 7,266.15 MW. Of this, 5,712 MW was coal based and about 69.75 MW was gas based. The central sector, led by NTPC, added 1,960 MW, while the state sector added 2,850 MW, and the rest was contributed by the private sector (972 MW).
The coal-based projects commissioned by NTPC were the Bongaigaon thermal power plant (TPP) in Assam (Unit 3, 250 MW), the Gadarwara TPP in Madhya Pradesh (Unit 1, 800 MW), the Solapur TPP (Unit 2, 660 MW), and the Nabinagar TPP in Bihar (Unit 3, 250 MW) (operated by its joint venture Bhartiya Rail Bijlee Company Limited). With the commissioning of these projects, NTPC’s installed capacity is now over 55,126 MW.
Of the state sector’s thermal capacity addition, the maximum capacity (1,320 MW) was added by Madhya Pradesh Power Generating Company Limited which commissioned Units 3 and 4 of 660 MW each at the Shri Singhaji TPP Stage II. The Telangana State Generation Company (TSGENCO) followed next with the commissioning of one unit of 800 MW at the Kothagudem TPP. Further, Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam commissioned the 600 MW Unit 6 of the Chhabra TPP Extension and Assam Power Generation Corporation Limited (APGCL) commissioned the 69.75 MW gas-based Lakwa replacement power project.
In the private sector, capacity was added by three developers. While Essar Power commissioned the 600 MW Unit II of its Mahan TPP in Madhya Pradesh, RKM Power Generation Limited commissioned the Uchpinda TPP’s 360 MW Unit 4 in Chhattisgarh and India Power Company Limited commissioned the 12 MW Dishergarh TPP in West Bengal.
A total of 140 MW of hydro capacity was added in the country during 2018-19, of which the central sector contributed 110 MW, while the state sector added 30 MW. North Eastern Electric Power Company Limited, a central sector player, commissioned the 110 MW Pare hydroelectric project (HEP) in Arunachal Pradesh, while in the state sector Telangana Power Generation Corporation Limited commissioned the fourth and final unit of the Pulichintala HEP located in Telangana.
Powergrid continued to be the top performer in terms of network addition. In 2018-19, it added over 8,415 ckt. km of transmission line length of the total length addition of over 22,437 ckt. km across all utilities. Powergrid commissioned several lines during the year, of which the highest addition of 5,026 ckt. km was at the 765 kV level. Amongst the state transcos, those of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh added more than 40 per cent of the total line length in the state sector.
In the private sector, Adani Power Limited (APL) added the maximum transmission line length of 1,499 ckt. km. Another private major, Sterlite Grid Limited (SGL) also contributed significantly to the private sector’s line length addition by completing 1,250 ckt. km of lines during the year, while Essel Infraprojects added around 673 ckt. km.
Powergrid also led the way in substation capacity addition with 20,500 MVA of capacity added at the 765 kV level and 15,445 MVA at the 400 kV level. The state sector accounted for the majority of substation capacity addition, adding about 35,920 MVA of the total 72,705 MVA added across all levels.
Post the launch of UDAY, AT&C losses have been consistently declining and reduced from 20.23 per cent in 2016-17 to 18.72 per cent in 2017-18. For 2018-19 though, the current AT&C losses stand at 19.95 per cent (as per the portal accessed on May 3, 2019).
Based on data available for 45 discoms on the UDAY dashboard, utility-wise, as of December 2018, the top five discoms which recorded the lowest AT&C losses were DGVCL, MGVCL, Eastern Power Distribution Company of Andhra Pradesh Limited (APEPDCL), Southern Power Distribution Company of Andhra Pradesh Limited (APSPDCL) and Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Limited (HPSEB). Meanwhile, the overall ACS-ARR gap of UDAY discoms reduced from Re 0.41 per unit in 2016-17 to Re 0.17 in 2017-18. As per latest available data on the UDAY webportal, the ACS-ARR stood at Re 0.32 per unit.
Utility-wise, as of December 2018, the discoms with the lowest ACS-ARR gap were Kanpur Electricity Supply Company Limited (surplus of Re 0.93 per unit), Tripura State Electricity Company Limited (surplus of Re 0.12 per unit), DGVCL (surplus of Re 0.11 per unit), Uttar Gujarat Vij Company Limited (surplus of Re 0.03 per unit), Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation (surplus of Re 0.08 per unit) and MGVCL (surplus of Re 0.08 per unit) and Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company (surplus of Re 0.05 per unit).
The year 2018-19 was slow in terms of capacity additions in the generation segment, which was reeling as a result of issues relating to fuel deficit, non-availability of power purchase agreements, and funding crunch of developers. In the distribution segment too, the discoms showed poor financial health with both revenue realisation deficits and high AT&C losses that stayed above 15 per cent for most of the discoms. To address the situation, policy and regulatory measures are of critical importance to engineer a revival.