The Union power ministry has directed states to set up ‘district electricity committees’ to oversee the implementation of all power-related schemes of the central government.
The committees will be headed by the most senior MP in the district, with the other district MPs as co-chairpersons. The district collector will be the member secretary of the committee, who, along with the district’s chief or superintendent engineer of the discom, will be responsible for conducting meetings of the committees at least once in three months to review and coordinate overall development. The heads of the district panchayat and the MLAs will also be members of the committee.
The government has recently approved a Rs 3-lakh-crore scheme to improve the health of discoms. As per the design of the scheme, loss-making discoms will have access to central government funding only after preparing a convincing programme for loss reduction, which has to be approved by their respective state governments.
The Centre will fork out Rs 97,631 crore towards the scheme, to be implemented in the five years to FY26. As much as Rs 22,500 crore has been earmarked under the scheme as central government grant for the installation of 25 crore smart prepaid meters across the country, with a total cost of Rs 1.5 lakh crore. The new programme will subsume the existing central government schemes for discoms such as the Integrated Power Development Scheme and the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana.
The district committees are also expected to look into the development of sub-transmission and distribution network, regular operations and maintenance of network and identifying areas where strengthening is needed. They will also track the quality and reliability of power supply.