Power connection on demand soon, pay charges in EMIs: Goyal

'We are thinking of launching a campaign to make it compulsory to provide electricity connection to all,' the minister said.

New Delhi: In a bid to make electricity available to all, the government plans to launch a scheme under which consumers can pay for the new connection in monthly installments over a period of 5 years and will be able to avail the service on demand.

"We are thinking of launching a campaign to make it compulsory to provide electricity connection to all. We want to provide this facility to everyone that if he or she asks for electricity connection then it must be provided," Power Minister Piyush Goyal said at a conference organised to mark the completion of two years of the NDA regime.

The minister further said, "Poor people get electricity connection free of cost. But for those who are above poverty line, the amount paid for new connection will be charged through equated monthly installments in five years. We are working on such scheme and soon launch it."

On Wednesday, the minister had said, "We want to keep it (application for power connection) simple. Then we would ask our people to get the power connection. We won't wait for them to apply."

He had also said, "I am actually telling my officers that they have to go to peoples' homes, make a simple half-page format, (ask them to) just give Aadhaar number, e-mail, address and mobile number, and sign it, saying I am desirous of a power connection and follow all rules and terms. That is it."

On the occasion, Goyal also advocated cross-subsidisation of power tariff and said, "Indian farmer deserves to get low cost power. We support cross subsidisation by larger commercial or industrial establishment for other consumers."

The minister also said the government is working on a policy for reverse auction for wind power projects on the lines of solar power projects, which witness lowering of tariff to below Rs 5 per unit.

At present, wind power projects are awarded on the basis of feed in tariff which is provided by the regulator on the basis of costs of land, equipment and other services.

About the village electrification, the minister expressed confidence the that the target of electrifying 18,452 villages will be achieved a year ahead of the set deadline of May 1, 2018.

"We will electrify all 18,452 villages by May 1, 2017, a year ahead of targetted deadline of May 1, 2018," the minister said.

However, he said that "there may be a few aberrations (consumers) that may be from very dense forest, left wind extremism affected area or possibly a consumer who does not want power or one does not apply for power."

"I am very confident with the achievement of the two years gone by and with the road map being prepared for next three years(the government will achieve) transformational results," he added.

While Goyal was talking here about the government's initiatives to boost electricity supply in the country, there was a power outage for a few minutes at the conference venue.

Replying to a question Goyal said that power purchase agreements (PPAs) are sacrosanct legal agreement entered into by different power distribution companies and the Centre has no role in cancelling or allowing anybody to surrender power.

The Delhi government has written to the Centre several times over "surrendering" over 2265 mw of expensive power.

"The Central government has no role in cancelling or allowing anybody to surrender power. At best they can offer it to any other state which is a willing purchaser and where there is transmission ability," the minister said.

"While Telagnana did offer to buy power for a few months but for lack of transmission ability they could not possibly purchase that power from Delhi but it is beyond our control to do anything about it," he said.

"But instead of only harping about surrendering power, I think we should all focus on reducing AT&C losses and improving the working of these states and ensuring for efficient utililsation of available capacities which each state has," the minister said.

In a significant transformation, India has become power surplus from chronic power shortage. Record capacity addition of around one-fifth of current conventional power capacity and solar power capacity addition of 157 per cent in the last two years led to a boost in power generation, the minister said.

The highest-ever increase in transmission lines and sub-stations improved the transmission scenario resulting in energy deficit falling to lowest ever of 2.1 per cent in the last fiscal, he said.

He further said that on Friday, not a single power plant faces shortage of coal as opposed to the impending power crisis in 2014 when two-thirds of major power plants had critical coal stocks of less than seven days.

"Working on war footing, our government completely eliminated coal shortage in the country. In line with achieving the target of doubling coal production to 100 crore tonnes by 2020, the last two years witnessed the highest ever growth in coal production of 7.4 crore tonnes," Goyal said.

Stressing that its government was focused on addressing the root problems of the power sector, the minister said that every discom is expected to eliminate losses by 2019-20 with potential savings of over Rs 1,80,000 crore every year from 2019.

"UDAY was designed through extensive stakeholder consultations and has been a game changer for States," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise on Independence Day in 2015 of connecting the unconnected 18,452 un-electrified villages in 1,000 days is ahead of schedule with over 40 per cent - 7,779 remote villages – already electrified, Goyal said.

India is headed for the top slot in the global LED market through UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All) Yojana, which will replace 77 crore bulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs by 2019. Over 9 crore LED bulbs were distributed in 2015-16, about 150 times higher than 6 lakh in 2013-14.

By supplying gas through transparent e-auctions in 2015, nearly half of gas power plants were revived, he said.

GARV (Grameen Vidyutikaran) app to help people track rural electrification and UJALA app to monitor LED distribution has brought accountability and transparency in these two programmes.

Moreover, Vidyut Pravah app provides real time information of electricity price and availability. By filling the information gap, State governments have been made accountable.

India is running the world's largest renewable energy expansion programme with a target to increase overall renewable capacity by more than 5 times from 32,000 MW in 2014 to 1,75,000 MW in 2022.

"By taking a leadership role in the International Solar Alliance of 121 countries and organising RE-Invest 2015, the world's largest renewable financing meet, our government has laid the foundations for massive growth in this sector," he said.

The farmer has been additionally benefitted through the highest-ever distribution of solar pumps in 2015-16, greater than total solar pumps installed since launch of the scheme in 1991.

The power constrained southern states have been provided relief by increasing the transmission capacity by 71 per cent and revived gas plants, which has expanded availability of electricity and reduced procurement prices of electricity by over 50 per cent. By resolving problems in hydroelectric projects the government is ensuring clean power to the North East, the minister said.

"The last two years have seen many records broken and many firsts. There is now a clear roadmap to achieve the vision of Ujwal Bharat delivering 24x7 affordable power to every household and adequate power to farmers, in an environment friendly manner," Goyal added.

( Source : PTI )
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