Punjab

Engineer association submitted blue print to bail out PSPCL from crisis; improving its working

Engineer association submitted blue print to bail out PSPCL from crisis; improving its working

Kanwar Inder Singh/ royalpatiala.in

PSEB Engineers association has submitted  a detailed blue print to the CMD of PSPCL, in response to the letter written by Powercom management , demanding suggestion,for improving the working of PSPCL.

PSEB Engineers association worked over it and made a detailed , elaborate 42 points , keeping in mind, the working of every department of the powercom

Reducing Cost of Power

  1. Review of PPAs with IPPs: Upto 2020, PSPCL has surrendered unutilised IPP power worth more than 4000 Cr. The per-unit cost from these IPPs has been increasing almost on an yearly basis. Moreover, these IPPs are finding loopholes in the PPAs and have been indulging in litigation resulting in higher power cost to the consumers of the state. The overall impact of all such litigations will be around 20000 Cr over the next remaining 20 years of the agreements. Keeping in view the interests of consumers of Punjab, long term exclusive PPAs with the IIPs should be immediately cancelled under clause 14.4.5 of the PPA and like other projects power should be procured only as per actual requirement of the corporation at market competitive rates from these IPPs.
  2. Enhancing ATC/ TTC Limit – Installation of ICT: The approved ATC/ TTC limit for Punjab is 6400/7000 MW, further increase in ATC/TTC limit is not allowed due to 400KV system constraint. To enhance the ATC/ TTC limits of the State, there is an immediate need to expedite the installation of ICTs and as advised by NRLDC to increase generation at 220KV level. Though, it is understandable that both corporations have their own financial interests to protect, but in the interest of the State Power Sector, PSPCL and PSTCL must coordinate to expedite this very urgent project. This project is already over delayed. Further, as advised by NRLDC generation at 220KV needs to be increased, thus the two number units closed by PSPCL at RTP need to be revived immediately in anticipation of the coming paddy season.
  3. Operationalisation of Coal mine allotted to PSPCL at Pachwara: To bring down fuel cost the Pachwara Coal mine needs to be operationalised. If the Captive coal mine allotted to PSPCL in 31-3-2015 is made operational PSPCL will save about Rs. 600 to 700 per Ton on account of cost difference only. Actual savings will be more than this as Pachhwara coal has higher GCV and lower ash than CIL coal. In the interest of the State, urgent personal intervention is required from the top management to get the court case settled.
  4. Flattening of load curve – night tariff to be further lowered: The load curve of Punjab has a huge variation within day time as well as during the year. In summer months, the energy consumed goes up by 120% in comparison to winter consumption. Even during the day, there is a lot of difference in demand at peak and off-peak. To flatten this curve with innovative methods like lowering night tariff in industrial, domestic and commercial in winter months, extending the concept of incentive-based tariff on higher consumption beyond threshold limit in off-peak periods to all categories. In line with “Paani Bachao Paise Kamao”, incentives can be offered to those AP feeders opting for night supply. Industrialization will also help in a big way to flatten the curve. This benefit may specifically be provided to the Steel and Furnace industry at Mandi Gobindgarh and Bi-cycle Industry at Ludhiana.

Structural Reforms

  1. Merger of PSPCL and PSTCL: There is an urgent need of merger of PSPCL and PSTCL. The lack of coordination is not only causing power-related issues between the two corporations but is also the cause of delay in release of industrial connections due to lack of cooperation. Due to non-timely planning and upgradation of 220KV and 66KV transmission systems many industrial connections remain pending in the industrial hubs of Punjab. This is not only a loss of revenue to the corporation but also undermines the efforts of the State to improve its Ease of Doing Business Rankings.

Further being two separate entities has resulted in increase of cost of capital projects due to non utilization of resources mainly land by either organization for augmenting or constructing new substations in the vicinity of already existing substations of other organization i.e land or building of 66KV substation will not be used for augmentation to 220KV, similarly, 220KV substations will not be used to augment/ addition of 66/11KV capacity.

Due to lack of coordination between PSPCL and PSTCL the issue of mismatch of SEM and SCADA real time data took considerable time to resolve, PSPCL had to pay almost 100 Cr per year for UI charges.

Moveover separate inventories for similar items have to be maintained by both corporations, as the procurement quantities get reduced it becomes difficult to obtain bulk purchase discounts.Further, this bifurcation of erstwhile PSEB is against the latest Global Business mantra that for better efficiency, a company has to go for backward/forward integration.

  1. Strengthening of Distribution and P&M Organisations –
    1. Restructuring of Subdivisions/ Divisions/ Circles: There is an urgent need to create new subdivisions/ divisions and circles in PSPCL to safeguard revenue of the corporation and to enhance customer services. Otherwise, the already overburdened distribution organisation will collapse. Keeping in view the load growth, as per association estimates there is an urgent need to create at least 70+ subdivisions. Mohali and adjoining areas need to be converted to a separate distribution Zone. Jalandhar City needs to be divided into at least two circles. Ludhiana which is an industrial hub, a circle of industrial divisions needs to be created.
    2. Regular training on theft detection to DS and Enforcement Engineers: The metering manufacturers should be asked to provide regular training to DS and Enforcement Engineers enable them to detect theft with data provided by metering equipment. This training should be a regular activity and officials of meter manufacturers should be made part of this activity.
    3. Electricity Employees Protection: To Take up the Issue of Gherao/ Manhandling of Power Engineers/ Officials with Punjab Govt and impress upon the Govt to pass law for Electricity Employees, in line with the Medical Protection Act that shields doctors on duty. This will help in protecting revenue of the corporation.
    4. Inhouse Workshops/ Labs: to reduce cost of repair and keep quality in check. there is an urgent need to restart the operations of TRW workshops, Pilot Workshops. All high capacity transformers i.e 200 KVA and above should be repaired at these workshops. Many CT/ PT units returned in ME Labs usually have minor defects which can be repaired by PSPCL staff, keeping in view the continuing shortage of CT/ PT Units PSPCL should consider establishing CT/ PT damage repair workshops within the existing framework of ME labs.
    5. Improving Civil Infrastructure of Distribution, Substations and other offices: Civil infrastructure in many distribution offices is crumbling, this not only affects the working of employees but creates a negative image of the corporation for consumers visiting various offices. Rs 100 Cr allocated for civil works of various offices has not been spent by PSPCL.
    6. Timely procurement of Material: Non availability of meters and other materials not only affect the reliable supply of electricity but also affect the revenue of the corporation due to non release of connections. The purchase procedures be changed/upgraded at par with the Central sector Navratna PSU’s to enable this.
    7. Pooling of Resources and Better T&P for Complaint Resolution: Each city division should be provided with one four wheeler with 3 number staff and one driver with complete T&P, Ladder, First Aid kits, Protective gears/ helmets/ gloves, torches, GPS tracking etc. Mileage to be measured through GPS tracking. This will reduce the time to attend faults, increase in sale of power and increase consumer satisfaction.
    8. Authorise ALM to work on LT/ HT Lines: PSPCL has recently recruited ALM but they cannot be used in absences of LM to supervise them. As per rules they have to assist LM and not perform work on their own. Adequate training and amendment in instructions is urgently required so that the manpower can be put to use.
    9. To Authorize ALM under PM organisation to work on EHT lines: ALM working in PM organisation (AO/TL) need to be authorised to work on EHT lines.
    10. To Create Posts of AAE in PM Organisation: Experienced JE/ Sub Stations working in PM organisation on promotion as AAE are transferred to Distribution, where usually they are unable to perform. Moreover the corporation is unable to use their experience in PM. It would be prudent to create posts of AAE in the PM Organisation so that such experienced JEs can be utilised in PM works.
    11. Loader/ Truck Mounted Cranes at PM Circle Level: PSPCL Substations are situated at remote locations, in case of emergency and at odd hours it becomes very difficult to hire Loaders for Substation works. In Lines with PSTCL, PSPCL should provide one Loader at Circle Level for use of PM organisation. This will help in ensuring timely resolution of faults in substations and ensuring continuity of supply.
    12. Grading of Various DS Offices: For ensuring performance of divisions/ subdivisions, facilities/manpower provided to officers/ officials must also be included while Grading different offices. Because offices can perform only if given all facilities like manpower, computers, T&P, materials etc. For this all divisions/ subdivisions should be ranked according to the facilities given to them. It is suggested that providing T&P, materials, computers and manpower etc will not only reduce stress on officers but will increase efficiency of the corporation.
    13. Information/ Returns asked for Meeting etc from various offices should be asked on a monthly/ periodic basis and in online/ digital format only. These days management demands frequent and urgent information from distribution offices, this should be avoided. This will not only help the distribution offices to plan their work schedule but will also allow them to concentrate on their primary job i.e managing distribution. Moreover the MIS cell established in the Planning Organisation be strengthened and be utilised for such activities.
    14. The frequency and periodicity of meetings should be fixed, and unplanned meetings should be reduced to bare minimum. Preferably to save on travel costs meetings should be done through Video Conferencing.
  2. Delegation of Works: It appears that many jobs of distribution offices have been centralised. The job of distribution engineers has been taken over by higher offices which are otherwise supposed to formulate policies and issues directions. It is suggested that routine works as per delegation of powers, purchase regulations, works regulation and other rules and regulations regarding delegation of powers should be left to lower offices. Such delegation will free up management to concentrate on issues of importance to the corporation and management should monitor energy and financial accounts and to formulate policies for efficient working of the corporation.
  3. Efficiency in Working of PSPCL – Differentiation from Punjab Government Rules and Regulations: Erstwhile PSEB was made independent of Punjab Government bureaucracy to enhance its efficiency. Moreover, the corporatisation of the erstwhile Board into Corporation was to enhance its working and to keep it free from bureaucratic processes. Whereas there seems to be a move by management to refer to Punjab Government rules and regulations, this is a step backwards. It is suggested that management should consider simplifying rules and regulations and enhancing the efficiency of the corporation instead of referring to Punjab Government regulations at every instance.
  4. Revision of Delegation of Powers: The delegation of Power ( DOP) regulations of PSPCL is quite old and needs to be revised. A proposal regarding the same has already been submitted by the association to the management. It is requested that the same be deliberated and the DOP be amended to have better efficiency in the company.

Reliability of Supply and Checking Theft of Energy:

  1. Improving Reliability of Supply – Ensuring Interruption free supply: PSPCL is power surplus during the month of April, May & from November to March. There is an urgent need to enhance sale of power to consumers and to ensure reliability of power supply 66 KV ring main system should be installed in all the major cities and industrial areas of the State. All the radial substations of the State should be provided with the second source of power supply to ensure 24×7 power.
  2. Under the Line Substations: Panchayats are mostly reluctant to offer free land for construction of Substations. PSPCL should instead procure land at market rates, which are usually cheap in villages, under the planned lines. This will not only ensure timely constructions of Substations but will also save the cost of constructions of lines upto the substations.
  3. Smart Metering: Smart meters are much more expensive than conventional meters, the only advantage currently available on smart meters is real-time data availability of metering parameters, real-time meter readings and remote complete disconnection of consumer supply whereas an essential feature circuit wise disconnection is not available. Thus smart meters should be installed only on high-value consumers and in theft prone areas only. Smart metering should be made mandatory on consumers indulging in theft at the cost of the consumer. However, a 100% rollout of expensive smart meters should be done in a phased manner keeping in view the return on investment and actual benefits accrued.
  4. Procurement of Mobile CT/ PT Testing Kits: There are no Mobile CT/ PT testing kits in PSPCL, procurement of these kits will safeguard corporation revenue for EHT consumers.
  5. Reasons for Theft of Electricity in Govt Offices: As per feedback received power theft is prevalent in police stations and many government offices. One of the main reasons being use of electricity for the unauthorised loads by officials in these premises e.g. Air Conditioners which is not allowed as per norms of Punjab Government to patwaris and many police and other district administration officials, but these officials install ACs for their own convenience. To avoid high electricity bills such offices indulge in direct kundis this issue needs to be taken up with concerned authors to get all such unauthorised loads disconnected from Government premises.
  6. Introduction of Pre Paid Meters: Implementation of Prepaid meters should be expedited and all Government offices should be installed with prepaid metering. Solar Net Metering should be made mandatory for these offices. Matter be taken up with GoP.
  7. Anti-theft police stations: should be brought under the administrative control of the enforcement wing and these police stations need to be strengthened.
  8. Meter Tamper Analytics: Meter tampering is a serious cause of theft of electricity. No analytics are available regarding meter tampering data by cause, meter manufacturer, meter make, reason for tamper, area of tamper activity etc. Availability of such analytical database in online electronic format to Enforcement and DS engineers will help in identifying manufacturer specific vulnerabilities and targeted vigilance activities. Meter tamper detection data needs to be captured in an online database by all ME Labs for subsequent analysis and action by DS Offices. This information should be made available to all DS engineers and officials. Metering organisation can use this information to raise issues with meter manufacturers.
  9. Preferential Treatment to Villages with Low Losses: Villages exhibiting low losses are given the same treatment as villages/ rural areas having high losses regarding system improvement and reliability of supply. PSPCL should start a scheme of augmenting power infrastructure of villages with low losses to incentivise consumers in such areas to report theft.
  10. Collusion of Private Meter Readers: Spot billing meter readers are usually aware about theft of power cases, but instead of reporting these to PSPCL officials, these meter readers indulge in malpractices to benefit the consumers. Regular meter readers should be recruited in sufficient numbers. Mandatory regular transfer from one division to another. The Enforcement wing needs to be strengthened to cover random checking of these meter readers. While regular meter readers are being recruited, the meter readings should be taken alternatively, once by a private meter reader and next time by a regular meter reader.
  11. LD System in Private Colonies: Consumers in private colonies which have been handed over to PSPCL are indulging in theft as the LD system in these colonies has been constructed by the developers. Cables from distribution transformers to meter cupboards in these colonies are underground and PSPCL authorities have no specialized equipment and lack trained manpower making it very difficult to trace & maintain these underground cables. The equipment installed in these colonies are also not available in PSPCL stores, making O&M difficult in case of the eventual takeover of these colonies. The policy for colonies needs to be revised to protect the finances of PSPCL. Further, it is suggested that no private colony should be given electricity supply/ NOC PSPCL Commercial Organisation if the LD system is not as per specifications of PSPCL and equipment installed by the coloniser are not as per inventory items in PSPCL stores to enable easier O&M.

New Business Opportunities

  1. Electrical Vehicle Charging Stations: PSPCL should set up Electric Vehicle charging stations at its own S/Stns/Buildings in the State Sector.
  2. Selling/ Renting of e-Charging Stations: PSPCL can procure e-charging stations in bulk and can provide e-charging stations on rent/ sale to individuals as well as institutional consumers on sale/ rent basis along with a billing solution for electricity. E.g. a hotel can get it installed on a revenue sharing basis and existing PSPCL consumers using the charging station will be billed through their existing PSPCL connection or be able to pay online for using the charging station.
  3. Adoption of e-vehicles for PSPCL use: PSPCL should start buying e-vehicles for its own use, to encourage adoption of such vehicles among common consumers.
  4. Rooftop Solar: At present the business of rooftop solar is at boom. PSPCL can make bulk purchases to minimise the purchase cost. PSPCL can sell rooftop solar systems to the consumers and provide after sale services without investing much in the same.
  5. Assistance to other agencies for Electrical/Civil Works: NTPC, BHEL etc are providing special assistance to power departments for various turn-key projects and day-to-day activities (e.g. finalisation of tender documents, procurement process, Recruitment of personnel etc.). PSPCL also has dedicated wings for HR, IT, Generation etc. On similar grounds PSPCL can offer these services to the other agencies at competitive prices. The Education Department of Punjab Govt has no specialised Civil wing to look after their buildings. PSPCL can offer services to them to look-after their buildings. Similarly, other activities like design and construction of HT and EHT lines is a specialised job, which can be offered to other departments of Punjab Govt as well as other States. It will not only generate additional income for PSPCL but also strengthen the Civil Wing of PSPCL which is diminishing day-by-day.
  6. PSPCL Lake View Guest Houses at Bathinda can be developed as a commercial resort and operations can be handed over to a reputed private party on revenue sharing basis.
  7. NABL Accreditation for all ME Labs: PSPCL will be able to offer services to neighbouring States and other private consumers.
  8. PSPCL Coal Sampling Labs should be made available to other Utilities on payments basis.
Engineer association submitted blue print to bail out PSPCL from crisis; improving its working
PSPCL

HR and IT Related Issues

  1. Shortage of Manpower: There is a huge shortage of staff which is affecting the working of corporation very badly and the adequate staff especially of critical categories like ALM, LM, JE, AE, RA, Meter reader, SSA be filled in at earliest. Further organisations like PPR, ISB, Commercial and Planning need strengthening on an urgent basis, manpower must be provided to these organisations. This staff shortage is not only affecting the working of the corporation but is creating legal issues like non settlement of overtime, violation of Labour Laws as well.
  2. Hiring Regular Employees on Full Scales Only: There is an acute shortage of staff affecting the working, services and revenue of the corporation. It is suggested that PSPCL management should hire regular employees on full scales only. The current policy of offering only basic pay for the first 3 years is causing extreme hardships to the new employees. Talented and qualified employees usually leave the corporation for better paying jobs, as they are unable to meet their ends with the basic pay being offered by the corporation.
  3. BBMB Manpower – Employment to Punjab youth against Punjab quota: BBMB organisation was created to manage the power plants under common pool. As it is only ‘manager’ and not ‘owner’, the staff required is drawn from partner states and the payment of salary is paid by partner states as per their share quota. However, due to some reasons, PSPCL has not placed staff as per Punjab quota and consequently, BBMB recruited staff from other states in excess of quota. There is a proposal to recruit its own staff by BBMB. The lacunae is that while the staff is from other states/ BBMB own recruited, the payment is to be made by PSPCL.
  4. Technical and Managerial Trainings to Engineers: Trainings have been stopped by management, any good organisation cannot prosper and improve without proper training. There is an urgent need to resume technical and managerial training to engineering officers.
  5. Superficial Chargesheets and Disciplinary Actions: Chargesheets are issued in case minor and sometimes genuine mistakes committed by employees where no corrupt practice or fraud has been committed. Then these chargesheets linger on for years without any decision. The expenditure incurred by PSPCL, resources wasted in terms of man hour lost as every officer involved whether accused or investigated or witnessed or in prosecution & the efficiency lost in terms of trust deficit due to these superficial chargsheets is reducing the efficiency of corporation. Strict implementation of instructions regarding issuing chargesheets/ show cause and deterring officers from issuing show cause/ charge sheets on minor offences can save considerable resources of the corporation.
  6. Use of IT tools, Mobile Applications by Employees of Corporation for day to day working and for submitting reports/ data. Currently, PSPCL HR Online Software is being used for salary/ charge reports/ transfers etc, this should be made available as a mobile app. All kinds of leaves CL/ Medical/ Paid/ EL etc should be applied and approved online. All applications related to HR activities like pay anomaly/ foriegn visits/ seniority disputes etc to be taken online/ through mobile app only.
  7. Use of e-Office: In the post CORONA environment, use of e-office is a must, this will not only help ensuring that working of corporation is not affected during this pandemic but will help in any work-from-home situations. Further use of e-office will not only decrease delays but increase efficiency and transparency. Only confidential files may be maintained in paper format, all other file movement to be stopped throughout the corporation. Scanned records to be used if old references required. The e-office suite includes integrated emails, the cost involved for this integrated email is very low in comparison to the cost already being paid by PSPCL for an existing proprietary email solutions. Corporation may consider using the almost free email application provided in the e-office suite instead of wasting money in purchase of licenses for proprietary email solutions.
  8. Computers/ Laptops and Tablet for all staff: PSPCL has been unable to ensure timely procurement of IT equipmenets like computers/ printers etc for use by other offices. Old and unreliable computers/ printers are being used in various offices, affecting their working. For efficient use of online tools and applications, all officials need to be provided with Laptops/ Computers/ Tablet computers. It is proposed that instead of central purchase, a rate as per GEM portal be fixed for each level of employee for purchase of equipments. Employees should be asked to purchase computers/ laptops/ tablets and the cost (as per eligibility and designation) for these devices should be reimbursed to employees. Employees will maintain these devices for at least 3 years and can again purchase a new device after three years. This will free the already scarce manpower in IT organisation from purchase of generic IT equipments.
  9. IT policy to be revised: Most of the PSPCL employees are in the field providing service to the consumers and are not expected to be bound to their desk computers. To accommodate this and above mentioned other points IT policy needs to be revised and made more flexible and modern, geared towards a mobile and flexible business environment. IT policy should mandate that all software purchased and in use by PSPCL should be web based or mobile enabled. Gradually all software to be made mobile compatible and operable on mobiles, discouraging the use of desktop computers. This will reduce the cost of client side devices. During purchase preference should be given to open sources and free software.
  10. Consumer Services: More consumer related services should be made online, currently consumers can apply for new connections, change of load etc. Other facilities should be made available online. This will reduce the cost of operations for PSPCL.

Other Issues

  1. Protecting Assets of Corporation: It appears that interests of the corporation are being ignored by the management. PSPCL has transferred GNDTP land to the Punjab Government without any compensation whereas BOD has approved 80:20 sharing. As per the 80:20 Policy, an agreement needs to be signed by PSPCL with PUDA for GNDTP Land transfer. A corporation which is under debt of 14000 Cr, should not hand over its costly assets for free, either reasonable compensation be ensured or such assets be used for the power sector only.
  2. Prepaid Metering on HT Consumers: Currently, no technology is available in pre-payment meters with disconnection features in case of LT CT meter and HT meters and above. Whereas such consumers have started claiming prepaid metering rebates from PSPCL, this issue needs to be taken up with the regulator for necessary modifications in regulations regarding prepaid metering.
  3. Gross Metering for Solar Net metering Consumers: Adopting the provision of gross metering above 10 KW in “Rights of Consumer Rules 2020” notified by MoP, GoI will help safeguard interest of PSPCL. PSPCL should push for adoption of Gross Metering for all Net metering Consumers including existing consumers.
  4. Management Constituted Committees Unable to Take Timely Decisions: It has been observed that committees formed by management usually don’t adhere to specific timelines and reports/ decisions are not submitted in a time bound manner. It is suggested that the committees formed by management to deliberate on specific issues should be given a firm and fixed timeline to complete their assigned work.

April 17,2021

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