Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution, better known as MahaVitaran, is aiming to provide up to 30 lakh domestic connections over the next three years, the highest in any state, as part of its Rs 8,300-crore capital expenditure plan.
The plan, named Infra–II, began in late 2013 and has three goals — deliver connections on demand, increase system reliability, which implies improving or replacing old infrastructure so that it can manage with an increased load, and reduce technical losses. The primary aim of the new capex plan is to reduce backlog in providing connections to the public.
“We should be able to deliver connections as people want. We can’t say that we have power, but cannot give you a connection. We should be able to give you connection on demand," said Ajoy Mehta, MD, MahaVitaran.
The company aims to provide 12 lakh connections a year over the next three years. Mehta said apart from the domestic connections, the number includes 1-1.5 lakh agricultural connections and around a lakh of commercial and industrial connections. A senior company official said it costs Rs 1.75 lakh to set up one agricultural connection.
“The biggest problem in executing these plans is right of way. People don’t want to let you put those poles, they don’t want you to dig cables in urban areas,” Mehta said. “We deal with it by convincing people or, sometimes, we use the law. Under the Telegraph Act, we are allowed to put a line anywhere.”
A September 2013 report by Ficci said that though the Electricity Act, 2003, empowers the licensee with the right of way (ROW) under the Telegraph Act, 1885, “it is a rarity for a transmission project to be executed without any delays in land acquisition or getting the ROW.”
The capex plan of Rs 8,304 crore will receive 80% funding from Power Finance Corp and Rural Electrification Corp, while 20% of the money will be provided by the state government. The plan has received the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission nod.
This plan follows the completion of Infra–I, which stretched from FY09 to early-FY14 with a total contract cost of Rs 10,787 crore. The first plan was executed on an urgent basis to enable the transmission and distribution system to manage nearly 15,000 MW of power that was generated since 2012, a nearly 50% jump since the start of the plan in 2008.
“We created strength, but also needed the capacity to distribute additional power