(Lift irrigation in the state of AP with special reference to the farmer’s problems generated from the practicing the Reforms and Transco’s failures in distributing electrical energy)

Reforms:   My understanding of the Reform is to change a practice, a rule, a method etc.,

Now the hosts are asking me to speak about the present reforms practiced by the Govt. through Transco who is the licensee to distribute electrical power in the State. Historically this Transco has a few years (3) of existence. It is really a baby that has not realized the values of life and responsibilities. The following are the deficiencies to name a few:

  1. It is run by beurocrats, who have no stake in its growth, superanuated persons of a few decades who haven’t achieved anything in their entire carrier.
  2. Ignorance of many technical aspects of their responsibilities.
  3. Become yes men for their superiors to get many favors including several extensions.
  4. Little respect to the customers owes and prepared to tell lies and more lies during the day in day out.

With my observation from the close quarters since last 30 years that the Transco hasn’t changed from APSEB. I have no further comment to make except the Reformers are the imported concepts forced on the Govt. at the center and the States by the World Bank (WB). It may not be proper to throw criticism at WB as it continued to assist the institutions who are not in a position even to pay the interest on previously borrowed capital.

Now the Reforms means loans, more loans and more directions in day to day operations in the through consultants who are to be paid 11 % of the total loan amount.  The privileged consultants are from most developed countries of North America that are not versed with the AP situation in the electrical distribution system of low frequency ((95.8 %) and lower  Bus voltages (92 %) with voltages at the customers end anywhere between 70 and 85 %.

and a load factor of 92 %. These are not in the same ball park values they used to. It is preposterous for these consultants to suggest application of “Cost to serve” and “Embedded costs” methods in arriving at tariff in a system with constant declared and frequent un-declared power cuts.  It is unjustified to suggest elimination of cross subsidies in tariff fixation for different categories. (Do not we pay to travel Iind AC or 1st class in the trains than the lower class. 2nd sleeper accommodates 72 passengers only while AC 3 tier accommodates 64 with charges more than 3 times).

Lift Irrigation in the State:

According to available statistics the total irrigated area in the three regions of the state amounts to a net area of about 47 acres and gross are of 63 lakh acres. The number of pump sets used are also given below

Item Coastal Rayalaseema Telangana Total Remark
Geographical area He 9,253 6,710 11,417 27,440
Net area irreg. He 620,000 455,000 771,000 1,824,000
Total Pump sets 000’s 343 448 1,159 1950 Incl, Un oth
Nameplate HP, ooo’s 1,610 2170 4980 8760
HP/acre 1.02 1.93 1.719 1.796 TN 1.26
HP per set 4.69 4.84 4.29 4.49 TN 4.81
Energy consumed Mu 1014 1284 4072 6370 ———-
Energy / set 2,956 2,886 3,513 3266
Energy / HP 630 592 818 727
Avera. Motor Load  % 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 Actual less
Av. No of hours / year 789 740 1,002 910
Cost @ 20 pa/unit 591 577 703 652 Per year

Each paddy crop of 90 days duration require a maximum say 600 hours of pumping. State average is less than 1.6 crops. With monsoon days, average running of 910 hours justified.

Decade story on Irrigation as told by EB.

Item 90-91 91-92 92-93 93-94 94-95 95-96 96-97 97-98 98-99 99-00 00-01

Sets 000s

1,193 1,274 1,398 1,504 1,606 1,643 1,791 1,825 1,885 1,933 1,993
EnMu 6,276 6,972 7,895 9,022 10922 11399 7,835 9,336 7,969 10632 9,850
Agr. % 38.62 40.37 41.38 42.8 47.81 48.85 37.57 39.46 39.59 40.8 39.8
T&D % 19.5 19.3 19.16 19.05 18.94 18.9 32.04 33.06 38.00 35.9 35.4
Subsidy 38.75 69.54 0.08 0.13 944.11 1259.1 850.37 0000 2998 3085 2300
Net surpl 80.99 84.84 79.45 88.99 87.25 130.59 129.15 -1134 15.8 0000 ????


  1. 1. For the year 1996-’97 with an increase in sets energy consumption reduced to 70 % of previous year. This is due to the auther’s public cry during the year. EB chairperson accepted for the first time that there was a minimum of 13 % theft, which was added earlier to Agriculture consumption.
  2. 2. After 5 years the AS consumption is lower even with increase in the sets by 20 %
  3. 3. The sets quoted above are those that were energized since the formation of the Board. Recent survey by Productivity Council (PC) confirmed that the total operable sets on date are less than registered till date.
  4. 4. PC data includes the number of sets operated during bimonthly interval. The data states that on an average only 48 % of the operable sets operated du to several reasons. The reasons could be Burnt motor, no water in the well etc.
  5. 5. Many of the unauthorized sets are those that were registered earlier but disconnection orders given by the accounts not executed by the operations personal for understandable reasons.
  6. 6. Up to the year 1993 –’94 EB making net surplus without any subsidy from the Govt. From 1994 onwards Govt. subsidy is about 30 % of the total expenditure and EB making net surplus which is equivalent to 3 % profit on assets. It is travesty of justice.

Do you know? If you do not, you should know and observe for your own sake and in the interests of the state

  1. 1. Electricity Rules insist on a four wire supply in a three Phase system. The fourth wire connected to the terminal and called the system neutral. The voltage between neutral and any phase will be the same as supply and balanced. Absence of fourth wire to customers’ premises and connection to equipment enhances protection to the motor. Insist on the fourth wire, (the system neutral).
  2. 2. Rule 55 and 56 of Electricity Rules state that the supply voltage should not be lower than 6 % and frequency should not be lower than 3%. The average are much lower than permitted. Lower frequency not only reduces efficiency of operation but gives lesser head and flow.  Most important effect is on pump’s capability to lift the water from below. Many farmers think the water level has gone down so dig a pit below to locate the pump causing many disadvantages.

  1. 3. Capacitor at the motor terminal improves the voltage at the motor. Increased voltage reduce the current drawn by the motor thereby reduces heating of the winding. Improves efficiency of operation. Reduces the probability of a burnout.
  2. 4. Note, the average load is less than 80 % on the motor. This is because in the absence of a 4 HP set in the market and EB not giving three phase connection to sets of rating less than 3 Hp the farmers have chosen 5 HP sets even after knowing they are over sized. Agitate to correct the two problems to improve efficiency.
  3. 5. For existing sets adopt impeller trimming to suit the set to the site required conditions and reduce the load by 20 %. Use of energy meter and adopting impeller trimming will give financial gains to the farmer
  4. 6. Low frequency and early morning high voltage on supply lines give rise to high excitation currents and burn the motor windings. This is more so in most modern motors. Avoid running the motor unattended during early hours of the day.
  5. 7. Many sets are run with damaged bearings. Running with damaged bearings not only inefficient but may burn the motor. While replacing a damaged bearing it is wise to replace all the bearings, otherwise old one induces failure of the new bearing along with it.
  6. 8. In most cases inefficient running is due to deficiency in gland packing. Check the true-ness of the shaft after changing bearings. If the shaft is not true it is more likely to damage the packing.
  7. 9. Always use graphite impregnated asbestas packing rope even when grease lubrication adopted.
  1. Do not over tighten the gland.
  2. While tightening at the idle condition, allow 2 to 3 drops per minute leakage to make sure of the freeness of the shaft.
  3. Excessive gland leakage reduce the lift capacity of the pump and running efficiency drastically.
  4. If the gland is getting hot check for the trueness of the shaft

10. Single-phase motors are less efficient; wherever possible use three phase motors only except at ver low capacities (one or less HP).

11. Agricultural sets required are of low head type. Choose the Total Head slightly higher than required and preferably the suction and discharge size of the pump flanges should be the same.

12. If foot-valves are used prefer the one whose “K” value to be 0.8 or lower.

13. Starter must have protection against single-phase operation.

14. Pumps of lower HP (2,1.5 and 1 HP) HP pumps come with mechanical seals. Refrain from using mud or dung to seal foot valve leaks at startup as the seals get damaged in a short time due to ingress of this material in to the seals. For higher size pumps the mechanical seals are prohibitively expensive.

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Andhra Farmers’ Story

Need to tell the story:  For obvious reasons the State Government (SG) and the Electricity Board (SEB) telling at the top of their voice  that:

1. The  Agricultural sector(AS) in the state is consuming nearly 49 % of the energy sold in the state or about 39.2 % of  distributed energy (DE). (State Govt., accused the farmers for the energy problems in the State assembly during 1996). In the absence of meters the energy consume in the sector is only estimated by the Board.

2. The farmer paying only about 16 paise  (1998)  per unit for the energy consumed

3. Number of pump sets registered sets 18,24,689 and about 14.65 lakhs are operational in the state during the year 1997-98 including  un-registered sets.

4. EB reports that the Transmission and Distribution (T & D) loss in the state network is about 18.5% for (1995 -’96)  of  DE.

5. All the above statements are quite from truth. The statements made in the public to serve their needs and with ulterior motives.  Our effort in pointing out in the Press and to the public about the wrong statistics given by the EB, has forced them to conduct Energy Audit in the state.  Refer to paper titled “Need for Energy Audit in Electricity Boards.”  and  “APSEB supplies to farm sector: Fudging for funds?”  ” The Business Line of The Hindu”.

The results from the Audit for some months in 1996-’97 have given some surprises to the EB.

The surprises are:

1   The average power consumed by  a set in AS  is less than 55 % of  contracted load

not 100 % (earlier assumed by EB).

2.   Average no. of hours of operation in a year is about 1,160. (72.5% of  1,600 Hrs.,

earlier assumed by EB)

3.   No. of operable sets in AS of the  State are about 85 % of registered not 100 % (earlier assumed by EB)

The combined effect of the 3 assumptions that gives the total energy consumed are:  0.55 x 0.725 x 0.85 = 0.338 in other words the earlier estimates were 1/0.338  = 2.9 times the actual.  So EB probably decided to estimate the sector consumption reduced in steps.

Comments on 1,2 and 3 above:

1.The average power consumed or energy drawn could be about 45 % , the low frequency operation is contributing for 12 %. (at full frequency it could be 51.1 %)

2.   The average no of hours of operation could be less than 960 (60 %) in the State.

3.     Including unauthorized sets the figure could be 85 %

4.    Theft of energy is mostly in urban industrial & domestic sectors.

5.    The total no of metered consumers are about 104 lakhs . Of these more than 13 % energy meters are not working and 28 % have no seals & 10 % are not read.

6.    The average Unaccounted energy in the state is more than 35.9 % (this is probably distribution  losses plus theft of energy)

No Comments on 4,5 and 6


7.   The total no of AS consumers are only 18 lakhs a mere 18 %, and operating are about  14 % of metered consumers about 104  lakhs in the year 1997-’98. These are not much more than  the 13 % of meters that are not working and less than unsealed meters

8.     The average unaccounted energy of 35.9 % in the State is an   underestimate. According to our studies the  minimum technically achievable T & D loss (with the existing distribution system) is more than 29 % as pointed out in my study, unless there is an increase in 33 KV substations  and 11 KV feeders, the losses cannot be brought down, (reference is invited to the Paper titled “Electrical power distr. in AP a study”).  So the unaccounted energy is more than 40 %  of DE ( Dist.  Loss of 29 + theft of  11 in other than AS)

9.   Now EB had brought the unaccounted energy to in 1997-’98 and the energy consumed in the AS from 11,399 Mu in 1995-’96 corrected to 8,704  and  consumption in 1996-’97 as 7,385 Mu.,  and AS consumption in 1997-’98 as 9,336 Mu. This is an increase of about 19.6 % over the previous year. It is very interesting to note that with an increase of only 3,389 (0.18 %)  additional  sets during the year.

Note for 1997-’98 consumption: The  Hindu dated November 9, 1997  reports with a heading “APSEB drive for shift in kharif crop pattern” states in effect the following.  “ APSEB supplied so far 2400 Mu and can supply only another 1,700 Mu for the agriculture sector for the year  1997-’98.  If paddy is cultivated as usual the Board will face a deficit of 22 Mu per day during the months of February and March ’98. So the Board is organizing a vigorous campaign to advice the farmers not to go for paddy cultivation during this kharif season”

Thus, the  energy to be consumed by the agricultural sector during the year1997-’98, as estimated by the Board is only 2,400 + 1,700 plus the deficit for 59 days of 22 amounting  to 1,298, making a total of only 5,398 Mu.

This vindicates the authors earlier estimate of 5,227 Mu for the year 1996-’97 itself.

The published figures for AS in the State  the revenue collected  and the Govt. subsidy given on account of energy used in agricultural sector during the years are as follows.

Year Cons. Mu. ., (%) of  En. Di (%) of sold Energ T&D Loss  as  (%) of  En. Di Reven Rs. Crore per unit paise Govt Subsidy Rs. Crores Tot Reve per unit  Rs. Aver. Cost  Rs./uni
94-;95 10,922 37.82 48.7 18.94 64 5.8 1,580 1.50 0.75 87.3
95-‘96 11,399 38.7 47.7 18.85 85 7.45 1,259.1 1.18 0.92 130
95-’96* 8,704 28.6 35.96 18.2 85 9.7 1,259.1 1.54 0.92 130
96-;97 7,385 23.02 34.12 32,04 106 14.4 850.4 1.76 0.978 129.
97-‘98 5,398 16 approx. 25.3 33.6 appr. 185 35.2 1,256 1.35 1.075 122
97-‘98 9,336 26.55 39.6 33.06 151.1 16.4 1,256 1.50 1. 121
98-‘99 4,860 11 nearly 17.85 >36 210 43.2 467 1.41 1.13 ——
The operating profits and net profits for years 1995-’96 as 1,173.5 and 130.6, for    1996-’97 as 1,234 and 129.2
* 1995-’96 figures as revised by EB after partially completing Energy Audit.

In our considered opinion that the energy consumed in the sector will be less than this and more likely around 11 % of energy distributed)

It is a surprise to note in the Foreword  (page 3) to  the 1997-’98 report admitted that the T&D losses in the system as 29%, appears to be nearer to the truth. The published T&D losses and technical and commercial losses as 33.06 %. for the year. This is to acknowledge the theft as 4.06 %. Still short by 7 % of DE which is included in AS onsumption.

The average rate, the former paying in 1997-‘98 for energy is about 36 paise, (based on even collected revenue) not 16 paise as being publicized by EB for obvious reasons and is much more than the average cost of Hydro energy to the Board in the state (1996 -’97 which is 19.65 paise and adding another 29 % for transmission loss and 17 % towards administration it could cost only 26 paise). The energy produced in Hydro Stations is more than the consumption in the sector. Who invested for the construction of Dams that is giving the energy? Many believe it is the State farmers, them selves through the irrigation Dept.!! Even we consider it not so the EB is receiving more than what it cost them 117.2 (polled cost)  from the farmer and the subsidy from the Govt.

The amounts received per unit is very much more for the years 1993-;94 (about Rs. 4) and for ‘94-’95 (about Rs 3) before the energy audit results are adopted as the consumption could be lower than claimed..

The present status of statistics are as follows.

Item 94 -‘95 95 -‘96 96 -‘97 97 -‘981 97 -‘982 97 -‘983 Remarks
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Metered Mu 12,417 12,475 13,975 14,406 14,406 14,406 Actual
Ag. Sector Mu 10,966 11,399 7,835 5,385 9,336 5,170 Estimated
Energy sold Mu 23,383 23,905 21,810 19,791 23,742 19,576
Agr. Sector % 47.81 48.85 37.57 27.2 39.3 26.4 of Ene. sold
Agr. Sector % 33.97 34.76 25.53 15.41 26.71 14.8 Ene. Dist.
T & D Loss  Mu. 5,467 5,550 10,283 15,158 12,021 15,473 Estimated
T & D Loss % 23.38 23.22 47.15 76.6 50.6 79.04 of Ene. sold
T & D Loss % 18.94 18.85 32.04 43.3 33.06 44.27 Ene. Dist.
Cost of Hydro 13.28 21.69 18.25 19.65 19.65 19.65 published
Pooled Cost Rs. 0.7511 0.9209 0.9777 117 1.17 117- published
Cost At LV Cust. Rs 1.3485 1.5522 1.9383 ===== 263.1 ——- published
Added Cost % 79.5 68.6 98.3 ===== 124.8 ——– calculated

1 Estimated from the  figures given to the press by the Chairman APSEB in Hyderabad on 9 th Nov. 1997 . Other data is as published by APSEB.

2 As published by EB in their report for 1997-’98, Note for an increase of 0.18 % in registered pump sets during the year but AS, consumption increased  by about 19.7 %!!.

3 Estimated by the author for the year 1997-’98

Compare column 6 (Published) to column 7 ( As estimated by the author) the EB still holding back nearly 11 % of stolen energy and adding it to AS with ulterior motive.

Close observation of the operation of all the pumps in the State shows the overall efficiency is appallingly low, and is less than 20 %. Most of the sets used (85 %) in the state or negative suction pumps (pump sucks water from a well, from the stream or a bore well.) For these sets, It is possible to achieve an efficiency of more than 40 % even with the sets available in the market. The reasons are many, but the main one is the farmer’s attitude or ignorance of, following facts.

1. They insist on longer through of water from the discharge pipe, mistaking that the quantity of water delivered is more. (the manufacturer provides lesser size for  delivery flange to satisfy this and to reduce cost)

2. They think the pump shall lift water from near the bottom of the bore. In most cases the manufacturer gives a high total head pump (55 to 80 feet) while the required head is less than 30 feet. Sixty feet head pump operating at 30 feet tries to draw more water from the bore and this creates friction in the pump impeller and high negative suction pressure results. The pump not designed for this suction condition consequently operates at a very low efficiency.

3. Farmers feel higher rated set will be useful to circumvent power cuts and persisting low voltages and low frequency operation. Higher HP sets are not readily available.

4. The manufacturer takes advantage of the ISI specification for Static lift (Height of suction flange from the water level below) of 4.5 meters while the need is for 6.5 meters in most cases. Situation worsens when the pump design Head is more than operating Head. For this reason many locate the pump in a pit near the source.

Refer to the article “marginal farmer’s power need in the state”

This paper gives some details about why? the efficiency is low. In order to prove that we do not need more than 2 or 3 HP, demonstration  held on 13 th July 1997, where 4  pumps (13 HP) irrigating about 33 acres of sugarcane field. This comes to about 1/3 HP per acre of sugarcane while the average usage in the state is more than 1.1 HP per acre. (9 million HP for 8 million acres) This also gives the  economic  justification to change  all low efficiency  (< 25 %) sets by reasonable efficient sets (> 40%).  Even though it is economical to replace, there will be loss of materials as scrap and requires significant investment.

Now our thoughts turned to the problem of how to increase the operating efficiency of the sets in AS. In the past several suggestions were made, such as:

The above suggestions applied to few of the present installations and it only improves the 1 The use of well designed foot valves with K value less than 0.8

2. PVC pipes instead of GI  with less bends to reduce friction drop etc.,

3. Choosing proper pipe sizes for suction and discharge.

These may improve the overall efficiency by reducing the friction losses only which are not very significant. What is required more, is an improvement in the pumps’ Hydraulic performance. This requires significant investment and also wastage of materials as scrap.

We felt that the major change that should  be brought out should be in the existing pump itself to improve efficiency significantly by atleast 30 %. We found the “Trimming” of impeller to suit the site condition will give near ideal solution with small expense. This is slightly less effective in efficiency than replacing with properly chosen new set. It is a common practice in industry to use impeller trimming as an effective tool to match the pump to the demand. Refer to a published paper by this author  titled “Starting a Trim Revolution).”

Ten % reduction in diameter gives a reduction of 10 % in Flow, 20 % in Head and 30 % in Power. In actual case the increased hydraulic efficiency of the pump holds the flow near about the same as before or even increase. The diameter reduction process of Pump Impeller called Trimming. Up to 20 % trimming practiced without any deleterious effects on the pump or it’s performance.

Field demonstration efforts made in Impeller Trimming.

M H. P. Associates Pvt. Ltd.,  put a proposal to the Govt. to trim few hundreds of pump sets at cost for demonstration. The Govt.,  approved the proposal without any financial commitment from them and instructed  EB to give all assistance.  With the cooperation of EB, started Trimming of the pump impellers in the State from March 1998 (in an island of Guntur Dt.)

So far about 70 sets trimmed and measurements taken by EB officials and check measurements were also taken by MRT group. The results obtained are highly gratifying. Energy consumption reduced by as much as 25%, but also increased the suction lift capability of the pump, a boon to the  farmer, resulting in good performance of the set. Now the set after trimming is operating satisfactorily even if it is located above ground (Earlier the farmers used to locate the set in a deep pit) Installation of a capacitor (as an essential item) and  reduced load on the system had improved the voltage conditions.

The enclosed reports will give the details.

1. To the State Govt.  on the demonstration project  (9th July 1998)

2. Recommendations and report of the SE (operations) Guntur

Brief summary of the above reports:

1.  Report to the Govt., Reported the details of trimming done in the specified area and gave the following two suggestions to induce the farmers to get their sets trimmed or replaced with lower rated  of their existing sets at their own cost and also install the required capacitor  to improve the system conditions.


A. To permit de-rating of the set to the value of power drawn and certified by a third party. (this will reduce the tariff burden for the farmer and energy saved to SEB)

B.  Presently EB does not give three phase supply for ratings less than 3 HP. This, derived from the restriction laid by SEB for domestic loads in 1981. If supply given to the new farmers or the existing ones to replace the old sets, ratings of 1.5 and 2 HP will reduce the load and energy demand to EB and tariff reduction to the farmer.

2.  Report of the Superintending Engineer:  (SE) operation of Guntur district, under whose supervision the experiment was done has certified the reduction of energy demand after trimming about 64 sets. The reading for power demand  recorded by the area AE. The report summarizes the reduction in demand of different rated sets. The average reduction recorded.

  1. A.   10 HP -   Energy input saved            2.1 units/hour (22 %)
  2. B.   7.5 HP -   Energy input saved            1.9 units/hour (28 %)
  3. C.      5 HP -   Energy input saved            1.1 units/hour (25 %)
  4. D.      3 HP -   Energy input saved            0.43 units/hour (21%)

(figures in bracket, calculated values, not in the report)

SE also recommended to accept de-rating of the set and also to give three phase supply to 1.5 and 2. Hp sets  (as required) to reduce  energy demand significantly.

3. Chief Engineer (CE), operation of Vijayawada division has submitted the results of check measurement done by their MRT group officers. . We understand check results generally agreed with submitted ones, but they observed in one case more flow with trimmed impeller than with the original size impeller with power reduction  of  only 14 % instead of anticipated 23 %. (Yes reduction in power demand is less than anticipated, because it is delivering more water, probably about (9 %). We were told that he had recommended to the Board the proposals made by SE Guntur.

As there was no progress in implementation of the proposal a letter was written to the CM on 7th March 1999.  The following is part of this letter.

“ ……..  On 9th July 1998 submitted a report (enclosed) to the Govt. The Chief Secretary invited me for discussion when several senior officers including the Energy Secretary, Finance Secretary and the APSEB Chairman were present and later, on the 11th July,1998, The Chairman, APSEB discussed the above including the suggested incentive to farmers.  All expressed their appreciation and promised me that they will look into it.

Trimming proposal when implemented on 10 lakhs out of 16 lakhs operating sets,  in the state results in one time investment (this can even be avoided if a small incentive is given to the farmer) which is very much less than the cost of energy saved every year, not counting the additional saving on account of  avoiding significant generating capacity.

Despite my best efforts I could not meet you, but mailed the reports to catch your attention. Till date, I have not received any communication nor have seen any orders in this regard.

This gives me an impression that your claim of spending several hours on vision 2020 every day is belied by the concerned officials, who do not appear to care for a saving of 5 % in generation and 7 % of energy in the present capacity of AP State, year after year and did not bother to save Rs. 3,600 crores investment in generation & distribution and a recurring gain of Rs.396 crores every year in energy purchase. Your officers continue to blame the farmers of the State as if they were responsible for the shortages that led to the imposition of power cuts.

I will be happy to make my services available for any clarification or discussion in this matter “

Still waiting for action from the Govt.,/EB.

The above is the story of the beast of burden (Andhra Farmer). He already absolved of the allegation that he is consuming too much of the electrical energy available in the state. Now he allowed to help the state in saving much of the power consumed by him by adopting trimming method at his own expense  and also benefit by paying less.

M. H. P Rao

N. H. P Associates

501, Block 5, Divyashakti Apts.


Hyderabad  500 016.

Tel. 373 4602/784 5154

Published means. Published in the “The Business Line of The Hindu

Paper means papers distributed/circulated to the Press and Public during various meetin

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