Bhubaneswar: Unable to get benefits under the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme (R-APDRP), the state government today asked the Centre to sanction financial assistance to state run Central Electricity Supply Utility (CESU) to upgrade its power distribution and transmission system.

“The ministry of power may take necessary steps to sanction financial assistance under R-APDRP scheme to CESU in Odisha without any further delay,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Though the central government introduced the R-APDRP scheme during the 11th plan with the objective of upgrading the sub-transmission and distribution network, including energy accounting in urban areas having a population of over 30,000, the assistance was not available to private utilities, Patnaik said in his letter.

Patnaik made it clear that CESU managing the distribution in the central region of the state, was not a private distribution company. The state encouraged by the new economic policy of 1991, was the first state in the country to privatise the power sector. As part of the reforms, the state government unbundled the Odisha State Electricity Board through separation of generation, transmission and distribution.

Fifty-one per cent of the corporation’s share were transferred to four distribution companies — Central Electricity Supply Corporation, North Electricity Supply Corporation, Western Electricity Supply Corporation and Southco. The first later become CESU after the private partner left, the chief minister pointed out. Though the World Bank and DFID in the initial period assisted the private distribution companies, they later stopped financial capital projects.

The distribution thereafter companies could not mobilise investment. Therefore, the objective of substantial reduction of Aggreate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses could not be achieved, he said. “While many states availing R-APDRP assistance have substantially reduced the AT&C losses to below 25 per cent, deprived Odisha’s AT&C losses is about 40 per cet,” Patnaik said demanding revision of the scheme to cover private utilities.