Power and renewable energy minister R K Singh has said his ministry is functioning on a target to increase the country’s per capita consumption of electricity, a yardstick for economic well-being, three times over the present levels.
“Our per capita consumption of electricity is very low and is a third of the world average. Our primary target is to increase per capita consumption three times to match the world average," he said. According to International Energy Agency, India’s per capita consumption of electricity in 2017 stood at 1.12 megawatt hour (mwh/capita), as against China’s 4.55 mwh and the US's 12.57 mwh.
Singh also said, contrary to popular perception, Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) was not a failure as the Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses have come down to 18.79 per cent from the earlier 22 per cent.
The power ministry launched Ujjwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) in 2015 as the financial turnaround and revival package for electricity distribution companies (discoms) of India to address the financial dues and power backlogs in the power distribution sector.
He also said the government has deciphered the problem of electricity access with improvement in its availability over years. "Today, the average duration of power available is between 20 - 24 hours in cities and 18 - 20 hours in villages," Singh said. The Government of India launched Saubhagya Scheme - Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana in 2017 to provide electricity to all the households. The deadline was to complete the nations's electrification process by December 2018.
Speaking about the power sector’s outlook, the minister said there is no room for entities making losses and no room for policies in the power sector which are not feasible and sustainable.
Singh said electricity must be paid for and the government is trying to ensure power is dispatched only when a letter of credit is given and taken. Since August last year, the power ministry has made it mandatory for discoms to open and maintain an adequate letter of credit (LC) as payment security mechanism under power purchase agreements for buying electricity from generation companies.
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