J&K leading the charge in electricity sector reforms: Govt

J&K leading the charge in electricity sector reforms: Govt

Srinagar, Jul 05: Jammu and Kashmir has emerged as a trailblazer in reforming its electricity sector, addressing long-standing legacy issues to a large extent to ensure enhanced service delivery to consumers. A significant milestone has been achieved through the modernization initiative, replacing obsolete meters with state-of-the-art smart meters.

These advanced technologies promise error-free billing, eliminating human errors and outdated manual systems. They also empower consumers by providing better control over electricity usage and budget management, alongside other benefits like streamlined billing and payment processes.

An additional 20,000 HVDS transformers are scheduled to be added under the RDSS scheme in next fifteen months as per the feasibility. These initiatives have collectively improved system reliability and significantly enhanced consumer satisfaction.

Efforts to ensure affordable electricity tariffs for consumers have been equally prioritized, with substantial subsidies being provided by the government on the full cost tariff evaluated based on the current price of power procurement and other actual discom expenses approved by the JERC. Notably, J&K refrained from increasing electricity tariffs during the current financial year (2024-25). In the previous year (2023-24), while metered consumers faced a 15% tariff hike, the government offset this increase by withdrawing the 15% Electricity Duty on energy charges, resulting in no net rise in consumer bills.

However, with these initiatives government bears a huge burden in maintaining the financial stability of the sector, which is crucial for securing grants from the central government to upgrade power infrastructure. In monetary terms, it is estimated that for every unit sold to metered residential consumers, the government bears a loss of approximately Rs. 3.75, by providing subsidy.

At the same time, there is grave concern over the high number of unmetered areas still prevalent in Kashmir. These areas contribute to substantial energy losses, exacerbated by the fact that only 32% (318605 no.) of residential consumers are metered and are being billed as per actual metered consumption against the total residential consumer base of 982125.The remaining 68% of residential consumers (663520 no.) are charged on a flat-rate (fixed charges) basis.

The flat-rate bills have not accurately reflected actual usage, even during the era of electro-mechanical meters. In today’s digital age, where energy measurements are precise from generation to consumption, ensuring accurate metering at the consumer end is paramount. It’s noteworthy that Jammu and Kashmir remains the only Union Territory where consumers still receive electricity without meters.

Electricity Supply Code regulations to prevent inflated bills. Additionally, the Jammu and Kashmir Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) has introduced flat-rate tariffs to encourage consumers to transition to metered billing.

This initiative aims to accurately reflect actual electricity consumption, thereby promoting fairness in billing practices. Furthermore, consumers in unmetered areas are receiving counseling and encouragement to opt for metered billing if they perceive flat-rate charges as disproportionate to their actual consumption. This approach empowers consumers to make informed decisions regarding their electricity usage, fostering transparency and efficiency in the billing process.

These initiatives underscore Jammu and Kashmir’s commitment to enhancing the reliability, affordability, and transparency of its electricity supply. The government remains dedicated to modernizing infrastructure, reducing losses, and ensuring consumer satisfaction in the electricity sector—(KNO)

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