Indian Villages now have prolonged power-supply
Following major reform initiatives undertaken by the central government in the power sector, there has been a positive development of the average rural power supply duration in the country increasing from just 12.5 hours a day in 2014-15 to 18.5 hours a day in 2019-20.
This was revealed last fortnight by the Union Power Minister RK Singh to Power Ministry’s Parliamentary Consultative Committee.
The recent reforms that the government has undertaken include :
– Universal Access to Electricity
– Reliable, Quality and Sustainable Supply
– Empowering Consumers
– Green and Clean Nation
According to Singh, 100% village electrification has been achieved 13 days before target while 100% Household electrification has been achieved under “Saubhagya” scheme. He also informed about the steps taken by ministry for empowerment of consumers.
The Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules were rolled out by Power Ministry in December, 2020, with emphasis that power system exists to serve consumers with mandated service standards and mandatory round the clock call centre.
The Power Minister stated that the country has been transformed from a Power Deficit to Power Surplus Nation as at present the total installed capacity in country is 3.77 lakh MW as compared to Peak Demand of 1.89 lakh MW. “We have achieved the target of One Nation-One Grid- One Frequency with the addition of Transmission Lines of 1.42 lakh ckm and Transformation Capacity of 437 MVA in FY 15-20”, he informed.
The Minister provided details of the steps taken by the government for reliable, quality and sustainable power supply like flexibility in coal utilization amongst the generation stations leading to savings of Rs.1,447 Cr/ year in NTPC Ltd, introduction of new products in power exchange( Real Time Market and Green Term Ahead Market) and Payment Security through letter of credit mechanism to tackle the issue of outstanding dues of power generation companies.
Singh explained the provisions on distribution competition in Proposed Electricity(Amendment) Bill, 2021. Under the 2021 bill multiple distribution companies will be allowed to operate in the area of supply. The consumers may choose any distribution company. It will lead to improved services, responsiveness, service innovation and enhanced billing and collection efficiency.
Furthermore, the minister also stressed the steps taken by the ministry for the empowerment of consumers. The Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules were rolled out by Power Ministry in December 2020, with emphasis that a power system exists to serve consumers with mandated service standards and mandatory round-the-clock call centre.
One provision from the Rules – net metering cap- remains a big topic of discussion in the Indian power sector with developers firmly against the idea of capping rooftop solar installations at 10 kW for setting up the projects with net-metering.
In January, the Ministry of Power (MoP) had issued a clarification for its Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules 2020, stating that it will re-examine the provision for capping net metering at 10 kW for rooftop solar installations under the new consumer rules.
The ministry stated that in the draft of the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules 2020, which was floated for stakeholders’ consultation, the cap was set at 5 kW capacity for individual rooftop solar systems for net metering. However, based on the comments from the consumers, industry and Discoms, the provision was revised to 10 kW in the final bill.
However, the ministry also heeded the request made by the industry stakeholders and stated that it would examine all such representations and requests, and based on that it will take a call to balance out the interest of all the stakeholders in the bill.
At the same time, Minister Singh has informed that as far as the promotion of renewable energy is concerned, efforts are on towards working for Renewable Energy target of 175 GW by 2022 under Paris Climate Agreement.
Various Steps have been taken to promote green and renewable energy such as waiver of ISTS Charges for Solar and Wind and competitive bidding guidelines for procurements of Wind, Solar, Hybrid, Round The Clock(RTC) power. Stalled hydropower projects of 3470 MW have been revived. Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) have been involved for small hydro construction.