PC Meena, (IAS), Managing Director, Dakshin Haryana Biji Vitaran Nigam (DHBVN), explained in detail, at the Urban Development Conclave, the genesis of the problem and the solutions that the distribution companies have come up with, with a generous fund infusion by the state government

New voltage levels have come into force, particularly in Gurugram, Faridabad and Dharuhera. This decision was taken at a board meeting in 2013. Earlier developers had to face hardships due to this shift from 11Kv voltage to 33Kv. The benefits of this change, are clearly visible when Sectors 1-57 are compared with Sectors 58 –115.

Why 33KV?

Efficiency of distribution: In sectors 1-57, in substations with 66/11Kv and 220/33Kv, there is a clear difference in aesthetics. When the voltage level changes from 220Kv to 66Kv then to 11Kv, the 11Kv feeder can take only 5mva load. In this situation, when different sets of consumers have to be catered to, numerous feeders will have a common area. That gives a haphazard look and all the cables will be visible. When there are independent feeders from 220/33Kv substations, the 33Kv feeders can take up to 25mva loads.

Switching stations: This is why a new concept was introduced – switching stations. A 33Kv feeder would link till the switching station. It is important to take a double circuit line so that redundancy is 100%. Now, if that one feeder, along with redundancy is taken till the switching station, it will sort out the Right of Way (ROW) issue and help in reducing cost. From that switching station, different categories of loads can be catered to. This is one of the benefits of introducing the 33Kv.

Concentrated loads: High voltage of 220/33Kv is usually taken for highly concentrated loads. That can’t be applied to village areas, for instance. Newly developing sectors with more households will have concentrated loads and therefore are planned with 33Kv loads.

The 220/33Kv has never been planned before in India. Sectors 1-57 have already been planned with a smart grid, with 220/33Kv and not much intervention is needed. Today optic fibre cables are being laid till 33Kv switching stations so that whenever the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system has to be implemented, that can be done from the beginning itself.

No overhead cables: In these sectors, the distribution network below 33Kv, whether it belongs to discom or developers, are without overhead cables. Even if you see an overhead cable, the voltage level is above 33Kv. Everything else is underground.

HERC norms: The 66/11Kv substations were made from 1980s to 2009 in Gurugram. In some places where there is scattered load, 66/11Kv is still used. This is not feasible for concentrated loads. According to regulations by Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC), loads more than 2mva can be given at 33Kv as well as 11Kv as per availability of voltage level as decided by the discom. The 9-10 66/11Kv substations that are available in Sectors 58-115 were made specifically to cater to those then rural areas. Today, most of the substations do not have capacity to augment. The current planning supported by the HERC, is 66/11Kv to its existing consumer areas in Sectors 1-57. In sectors 58-115 33Kv has to be adopted.

Land for switching stations: A similar 33Kv has been provided in Faridabad’s Neharpar area and the left side of the Jaipur Highway at Dharuhera. A 220/33Kv system is available there. The constraint of switching stations is there. Any developer or group of consumers, taking a connection for 500 sq yard land, with a load of more than 15mva, has to give a land pocket to DHBNV.

Legacy solutions: For existing consumers, a circular first came out in 2015 and a detailed one in 2018. For consumers who had already got their OC, it was difficult to change layouts. After taking the CC, when it was handed over to RWAs, it was tough to carve out land for switching stations. This process is being made easier by developing a distribution system for 11/0.4Kv.

According to earlier instructions the system had to be laid down for 33/0.4Kv. If the projects were already developed, the system had to be replaced. Now DHBVN has decided that consumers with11/0.4Kv systems, can continue with that, by just bringing in 33/11/0.4Kv transformers, without changing the entire system.

At the same time, switching stations which have spare capacity, will have to share the capacity with another developer under the grouping or wait for a consumer who can share it under grouping. They have to make an initial investment but the new developer or consumer will have to share the cost of constructing the switching station.

BG offset: DHBVN will give a third exiting option too. If developers surrender excess capacity to the DHBVN, the value of that excess capacity of land, plus its cost of construction, will be offset against the developer’s bank guarantee.  Even the value of per mva land can be calculated, along with the value of cost of construction of the switching station.

The third option is that if the switching station is also constructed and given by DHBVN, then DHBVN will do the construction on that land as well.

Swap incentive: Where developers have multiple projects within Gurgaon and Faridabad, DHBVN will go district-wise. Developers who surrender land of 500 yards in one sector for a switching station in one project will be offered the same amount by DHBVN in other sectors. This allows developers with multiple projects to surrender unused land or capacity in one project that they are not going to use in the future as well, and take land from DHBVN in return, within whichever these sectors or districts. Even after this, wherever many developers have trouble in arranging land, DHBVN can create switching stations on land from GMDA and MCG.

GMDA, MCG land: So, since the land for switching stations and sub-stations is taken from GMDA and MCG, the proportionate cost of land is paid to them and the cost of construction will be given to the DHBVN. Currently developers are facing hardships on this issue of 33Kv and 220/33Kv, the switching stations for them being the biggest issue.

Reduce losses: There is very little difference in cost in laying an 11or 33 Kv line. The cost is Rs 48 lakh per km for 33KV and for 11KV it is Rs 46 lakh per km. But the system is good, with reliability, quality of power and also the losses are less due to high voltage power.

Electrical infra not laid: A common complaint has been that the discom has insisted on documenting the electrical infrastructure, after OC and CC has been received. The reason for that is, before 2019, in order to get the OC and CC, a No Objection Certificate (NOC) was not taken from the discoms. Electrical infrastructure is equally important as the rest of the infrastructure. Earlier OC and CC used to be given by the TCP, in the name of electrical infrastructure, only streetlights were laid, which all developers have to do in one way or the other. But in addition to this, both the internal and external electrical infrastructure should also be constructed as per the Electricity Act. These should have been completed but were not done by many developers.

Temp connections: Temporary connections were taken and when the OC was received, the residents came to stay there. Over time the CC was also received. The discom’s fight moved from the developer to the resident. Since power boards could not fight with multiple residents, they were left with inadequate electrical infrastructure leading to poor quality of power as well as the reliability.  

Inadequacy amount sanctioned: The CM of Haryana took an initiative to solve it by allocating Rs 1,320 crore as inadequacy amount for 13 developers to fix the gap. Over time, the load norms were revised because of upcoming energy-efficient equipment and latest technologies. The benefit, which was given for diversity factor, was also passed on and after that it became ¼th of inadequacy, some augmentation was done from the developer’s side and some profit was because of these load norms.

But even after such measures, there was almost Rs 320 crore worth of inadequacy. Through an interim arrangement and a petition through HERC, the decision was taken to collect the charge from residents as an interim decision. But as this decision is for all and does not give anyone any special rights. Some people have old projects and there was no solution and as per the direction of the commission, if there is inadequate infrastructure so why is there a need for discoms to release new connections, and all the employees of the discoms who are releasing connections, strict actions will be taken against them.

No permanent solution: So, this was how the decision was made as this had become a public issue for at least 3 months.  Many people had no electric connections but diesel gensets had been halted by the green tribunal. We tried to resolve this issue but couldn’t find a permanent solution.

Now we don’t want to enter that trap again. The discom also understood how to protect bona fide allottees’ interests. That’s the reason why developers were asked to give bank guarantees so that temporary connections that were taken for construction purposes, were not converted and used for residential and commercial purposes. In 2019, when OC and CC were taken, this process got streamlined.

Today we are hoping these kinds of problems won’t occur again and we can protect our allottees’ interests.